Sun, Dec 01, 2013 - Page 3 News List

FEATURE: Lifetime award for baseball great

GREATEST MANAGER?Hsu Sheng-ming served as manager for a number of amateur and professional teams, and was famous for his audacious strategies

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

EDA Rhinos manager Hsu Sheng-ming smiles after winning a game at Cheng Ching Lake Stadium in Greater Kaohsiung on June 25.

Photo: Chang Chung-yi, Taipei Times

A posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award will be awarded to baseball legend Hsu Sheng-ming (徐生明) at the yearly sports award banquet slated to take place on Dec. 18.

Hsu died of a heart attack on Aug. 24 after an evening jog.

“Hsu is a legendary figure who authored many exciting chapters to enrich the history of Taiwanese baseball... He set the record for the most wins with 715 in his career as a manager of pro baseball teams,” a statement from the Sports Administration said.

As a youngster, Hsu showed his talent by specializing as a knuckleball pitcher in school and was regularly selected for national squads to compete in domestic and international Little League competitions.

He was a member of the renowned Tainan City Giants team in 1971, which represented Taiwan and won the Little League World Series at Williamsport in the US that year.

Hsu continued to shine for Taiwan by helping to win the championship trophy at the world youth baseball finals in 1974 and the world senior youth finals in 1975, where he set a new record by striking out 16 batters in a game.

“As a player, Hsu had outstanding talent, along with outstanding courage and diligent effort in representing the national squad. For those years, he and his teammates enabled Taiwanese to watch and enjoy the moving experience of the national team winning world championships on television,” the sports agency’s statement said.

Having been dubbed “Master of the Knuckleball,” Hsu later joined the Weichuan amateurs, Chinese Culture University and Army baseball teams.

He headed to South Korea in 1984 to study sports education and obtained a master’s degree. While he was there, he played for a team in an amateur league and was honored with six pitching awards in four years.

Upon returning home, Hsu took up the manager post for the Chinese Culture University team, and began racking up wins that would make him Taiwan’s most successful manager.

Known for his innovative and audacious game tactics, Hsu often pulled surprises in late innings, such as calling for double steals or suicide squeezes to force a win, earning him the nickname of the “Baseball Magician.”

Throughout his managerial career, Hsu set many firsts in Taiwanese baseball, such as leading his Weichuan Dragons to the pro league’s very first dynasty with championship titles in three consecutive years from 1997 to 1999.

After leaving the Dragons, Hsu went on to manage the Kao-Ping Fala team of the Taiwan Major League, worked as pitching coach for the Chinatimes Eagles, as well as being manager of the First Agan, the Chinatrust Whales, the Sinon Bulls and the EDA Rhinos.

It is of special note that while he was in charge of the EDA Rhinos from December last year until his passing in August this year, Hsu managed US Major League Baseball superstar Manny Ramirez.

The former Red Sox slugger and World Series MVP arrived in Taiwan to play under Hsu for six months earlier this year and helped to push the popularity of the game to new heights, with packed crowds at most ballparks to catch “Manny Mania.”

“Along with his illustrative career in professional baseball, Hsu served as manager of Taiwan national squads at international tournaments. His teams gained pride and glory for our country on the world stage. Throughout his career, Hsu provided his expertise and experience for the development of baseball at the grassroots level. Hsu was the originator and the guiding light for the ‘Ten-Year Program for Little League Baseball’ in Greater Kaohsiung’s Meinung township [美濃],” the sports agency’s statement said.

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