1996 Taiwan Series

From BR Bullpen

The 1996 Taiwan Series was the 4th Taiwan Series.

The Uni-President Lions had won the 1995 CPBL title. They finished first in the 1996 CPBL first half at 34-15-1 and were 26-22-2 in the second half. Managed by Yataro Oishi, they had Best Nine catcher Chi-Chen Tseng (.324/.400/.475) and plenty of other bats in Hector Roa (.344/.385/.598, 25 SB, 17 HR, 91 R, Gold Glove at 3B as well), Francisco Laureano (.342/.405/.488), Min-Ching Lo (.352/.445/.549, 74 RBI) and Cesar Hernandez (.341/.369/.437, a league-high 36 SB). Kuo-Chong Lo (.258/.304/.297) won a Gold Glove at SS. The pitching staff was carried by CPBL MVP Chin-Hsing Kuo (20-4, 2.57) while Brandy Vann (4-5, 24 Sv, 2.13) was a solid closer.

The Wei Chuan Dragons had gone 25-23-2 in the first half and won the second half at 30-20 under skipper Sheng-Ming Hsu. They had only one Best Nine pick, OF Sil Campusano (.348/.433/.633, 23 HR, 26 SB, 87 R) while Ming-Tsu Lu (.339/.417/.547, 16 HR) and Manny Francois (.344/.405/.515) also had OPSes over 900. Their top pitchers were both imports: Gab Ozuna (12-5, 2.72) and Garcia (4-5, 2.09, 29 Sv, 183 K), who amazingly led in both saves and whiffs.

The Series opened October 29 with a 15-2 Lions romp as their powerful offense banged out 24 hits, Kuo beating Ozuna and Vann somehow getting credited with a save. Yung-Tai Sung had the game-winning homer, while Campusano homered for the losing side. The next day, the Dragons tied it with a 5-2 win as Wen-Po Huang beat Don Lemon, Garcia saving the win. Masahiro Taijun had the game-winning RBI and won game MVP. On November 1, the Lions had 19 hits in another romp, 10-3. Chun-Liang Wu got the win, Dario Perez the loss. Tseng drove in the winner and was named game MVP.

On November 2, the Lions moved one win away with a 4-0 victory, Kuo beating Huang. Cheng-Hsien Chen hit a homer and got the game-winning RBI and game MVP. On the 3rd, the Dragons won, 7-3. Huang got the win and Lemon the loss in a repeat of game 2. Cheng-Chin Hong had the game-winning RBI and was named game MVP. In the finale on November 5, the Lions won a 5-3 game, Kuo getting his third win of the Series and Garcia taking the loss. Cheng-Hsien Chen drove in the winner. Kuo was named game MVP.

Kuo was named Taiwan Series MVP thanks to his 3-0, 0.45 record. No one had won three games in a Series before. It marked the end of his short and brilliant career as he would be banned for life following a gambling scandal.

Primary Source: Taiwan Baseball Wiki