Chi-Chen Tseng

From BR Bullpen

Chi-Chen Tseng (曾智偵)

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 10", Weight 200 lb.

Chi-Chen Tseng was a two-time Olympian as an amateur, was named Taiwan's top catcher six times as a pro then managed a Taiwan Series champion. He also had the odd career path of going from full-time manager to non-managing player.

Tseng played for the Taiwan national team in the 1982 Amateur World Series, 1983 Asian Championship (when Taiwan won a Silver Medal), 1984 Olympics, 1985 Intercontinental Cup, 1986 Amateur World Series (when Taiwan won a Bronze), 1987 Asian Championship (Bronze), 1987 Intercontinental Cup, 1988 Baseball World Cup (.238/.238/.286) and 1988 Olympics. The other backstop on the 1988 national team was I-Chung Hong, Tseng's primary rival as Taiwan's top catcher in the 1990s.

Tseng broke in as a pro in the Chinese Professional Baseball League's first season, 1990, with the President Lions. At age 31, he hit .241/.318/.338 and made the All-Star Game. In 1991, he batted .312/.384/.426 with a CPBL-best 20 doubles. He was an All-Star and made the inaugural Best Ten as the backstop. He hit .288/.380/.406 and lost Best Ten honors to Hong, while making the All-Star Game again.

In 1993, Chi-Chen produced at a .294/.333/.388 rate, made the All-Star Game and was picked for the Best Ten a second time. Hong beat him out for the Best Ten in 1994, when the Lions catcher hit .278/.354/.444 and was an All-Star. 1995 brought Tseng triple honors as a Gold Glove, All-Star and Best Ten selection. He batted .302/.367/.436.

The 37-year-old batted .324/.400/.475 in 1996 and made his fourth Best Ten but missed the CPBL All-Star Game for the first time in his career. In '97, the Chiayi native fell to .253/.332/.300 but was still an All-Star, Gold Glove winner and Best Ten pick. His last big year was 1998, when the old-timer showed no signs of age with a .322/.396/.437 batting line. He was 6th in the CPBL in average, in between Tai-Shan Chang and Ted Wood. He made his 8th All-Star Game in the CPBL's first 9 seasons and made his sixth Best Ten selection (through 2009, no other catcher has won the award more than 3 times). He also won his last Gold Glove. Finally, he made Taiwan's team for the 1998 Asian Games, when they won Bronze.

Chi-Chen became the player-manager of the Lions in 1999 and guided them to a 56-37 record. In 2000, he went 7 for 21 at the plate at age 40. The Lions finished 44-43-3 but went on to win the 2000 Taiwan Series. He won Manager of the Year honors.

Becoming a full-time manager in 2001, he guided the Lions to a 49-37-4 record, followed by a fall to 32-54-4 in 2002, after which he lost his managerial role.

Tseng then surprisingly returned to the playing field after a two-year absence. He hit .277/.370/.351 for the 2003 Lions despite being 44 years old. When he homered on July 19, he became the oldest player to go deep in CPBL annals. He even made the All-Star Game for the 9th time. He went 4 for 16 in 2004 to end with a career average of .293/.366/.408.

Tseng coached for his alma mater, WuFeng Institute of Technology, after finishing up as a player. He managed the EDA Rhinos to a 9-14 finish in 2013, after Sheng-Ming Hsu died.

Primary Source: Chinese Wiki Baseball