Mon, Feb 25, 2019 - Page 10 News List

Macoto Cobras pitching trio reunited

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Hsu Chu-chien, Lin Ying-jeh and Lin En-yu, left to right, the legendary pitching trio of what was then known as the Macoto Cobras, pose for a rare photograph together at the Chinese Professional Baseball League’s 30th anniversary exhibition in Taipei on Saturday.

Photo: Kuo Yi-chieh, Taipei Times

The star pitchers of the Macoto Cobras, from the early 2000s, were on Saturday reunited for the first time in more than a decade to reminisce about the “good old days” of dominating professional baseball in Taiwan and to meet fans at an event in Taipei.

On a day given to nostalgia and happy memories, hundreds of people crowded into the Chinese Professional Baseball League’s (CPBL) 30th anniversary exhibition at the Huashan 1914 Creative Park to see the trio of Lin “Little Chick” En-yu, Lin “Three Hair” Ying-jeh and Hsu “Bamboo” Chu-chien.

The pitchers were dubbed “Macoto’s Three Main Pillars” by baseball commentators and sports writers thanks to their stellar win record, while many have said they were the greatest starting pitcher combination in CPBL history.

As the regular starting rotation for the Cobras, the three made history in 2005 when the two Lins each racked up 12 wins and Hsu pocketed 11 victories.

That year, they also led the Cobras to a half-season title, and each garnered awards and honors in 2005 and 2006.

The trio and CPBL officials were surprised to see several hundred fans pack the exhibition venue for an interview with local media, in which they recalled their exploits on the diamond, and an autograph signing session.

“We were lucky that the three of us were together at the same time, as starting pitchers for the Macoto Cobras,” Lin En-yu said. “We had outstanding players as teammates, great management and coaching staff — and our team played excellent defense to save us many runs.”

“Together, as a trio of starting pitchers, we gave everything we had, always getting the best from our teammates and fighting together in honor. At that time, I was very proud to be a member of the Macoto Cobras — and I still feel that way now,” added Lin En-yu, now a pitching coach for the Brothers Baseball Club.

Lin Ying-jeh told fans that since retiring from professional baseball last year, he has been working with an amateur team in Taichung.

“Actually, I wanted to continue pitching, but the youngsters on the team needed good coaching and someone to train them,” Lin Ying-jeh said. “So, reluctantly, I finished up my career to focus on teaching younger players.”

After leaving the Cobras, the two Lins caught the eyes of Japanese scouts, and both later signed with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in Japan’s Pacific League. However, they had injuries and other issues, and ended up returning home after a few years.

Lin Ying-jeh returned to Taiwan with a good pitching repertoire and played with the EDA Rhinos (formerly known as the Sinon Bulls) and Brother Elephants (now the Brothers Baseball Club) before winning a championship with the Lamigo Monkeys in 2017.

Hsu is no longer involved in baseball — he has a farm in Miaoli County — but he said he would not rule out returning to the game.

“Although I am retired, I have not entirely quit. When Lin En-yu gets a head coaching job in the CPBL, I want to return as a pitching coach, and retire from his team,” Hsu said.

The CPBL exhibition, which is open daily from 10am to 6pm and costs NT$250 for adults, is to run until the end of next month.

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