Although the U.S. major leagues have drawn players from Canada, many Latin American nations, Australia, Japan, and Korea, no player from Taiwan has played in the majors. That condition exists despite the popularity of baseball in Taiwan and Taiwan’s extraordinary success in Little League baseball.
Americans, however, have played and coached in Taiwan. Former major league managers Jim Lefebvre, Kevin Kennedy, and Bill Russell have coached there. A limited number of foreign players is permitted per year, with Jay Kirkpatrick probably the most successful American player. Kirkpatrick, a former Dodgers’ minor-leaguer, won the 1998 Most Valuable Player Award in the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) while topping the league in home runs, runs batted in, and batting average.
Baseball in Taiwan suffers from several problems that have slowed movement of players to the United States: Traditionally, Taiwanese players have taken their skills to Japan; players share in the island’s requirement of compulsory military service; there is little cooperation between the two Taiwanese major leagues, the CPBL and the Taiwan Major League; and a serious gambling scandal rocked the CPBL in the 1990s. Nonetheless, it seems only a matter of time until Taiwanese players make the increasingly common international journey into professional baseball in the United States.
See also: Australian Baseball; Canadian Base-
ball; Cuban Baseball; Japanese Baseball; Ko-
rean Baseball; Latin American Baseball.
Rubinstein, Murray A. Taiwan: A New History.
Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 1999.
Wilson, Jeffrey. “Baseball in Taiwan.” In Total
Baseball. 6th ed. Ed. John Thorn et al. New
York: Total Sports, 1999, pp. 563–569.
After “Happy Birthday” and “The StarSpangled Banner” (the latter having its own baseball association), “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” is the song most often sung in the United States, although few people know its complete lyrics.
Songwriter Jack Norworth, best known today (next to “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”) for “Shine on Harvest Moon,”