Katsuo So

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(Redirected from Sheng-Hsiung Chuang)

Katsuo So (known as Sheng-Hsiung Chuang in Taiwan)

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 9", Weight 165 lb.

Biographical information[edit]

Katsuo So pitched 11 seasons in Nippon Pro Baseball and later coached. He was an Olympic performer with Taiwan.

So was with the Taiwanese Army baseball team from 1981-1983. He also played for his native Taiwan in the 1982 Amateur World Series and 1983 Asian Championship. In the 1983 Intercontinental Cup, he became the first Taiwanese hurler to beat the Cuban national team as Taiwan would go on to take the Bronze Medal.

So pitched in nine of Taiwan's 12 games in the 1984 Amateur World Series and worked 46 of their 100 innings. The workhorse went 3-0 with a save, 37 strikeouts and a 0.98 ERA while the rest of the staff was under .500. He was second in the Series in ERA behind Dong-yol Sun and was second in whiffs, one behind Cuba's Julio Romero. He tied for third in wins, one behind Julio Moya and Hiroshi Nagatomi. He also played in the 1984 Olympics.

So's dominant work on the international stage drew the interest of Japan's Chiba Lotte Marines. He made his NPB debut in 1985, going 11-10 with four saves and a 4.15 ERA. He made his only Pacific League All-Star team that year.

So was 11-5 with 19 saves, a 3.15 ERA and .229 opponent average in 1986. From July 30 to August 24, he had ten straight save points, a NPB record at the time. The knuckleballer led the PL with 13 wild pitches that season. He finished third in ERA behind Yoshinori Sato and Hisanobu Watanabe in his best season.

Katsuo was 13-11 with a 3.32 ERA in 1987 and completed 20 of 28 starts. His 75 walks paced the PL, but they came in 230 2/3 innings. He finished 10th in ERA. The next year, So had a 13-14, 4.12 record, leading the loop in homers allowed (30), runs allowed (98) and earned runs allowed (92). His strikeout total meanwhile had fallen from 130 to 121 to 82 since 1986.

The Tainan native posted a season of 11-15, 4.21 in 1989. He led the PL in losses, walks (112), runs allowed (106) and earned runs surrendered (97). In 1990, the right-hander was 5-14 with nine saves and a 4.23 ERA. He went 5-8 with two saves and a 4.24 ERA in 1991. That fall, he became a naturalized citizen of Japan.

So saw limited action after that, mostly pitching in relief. He was 0-1 with a 5.73 ERA in 15 games in 1992 and 0-5 with a 3.86 ERA in 1993. In 1994, Katsuo had a 9.87 ERA and no decisions in 12 outings. He wrapped up in 1995, going 1-0 with a 6.00 ERA.

Overall, So was 70-83 with 33 saves and a 4.05 ERA in 297 games in NPB. He completed 74 of 150 starts.

After his playing career ended, So coached for the Marines in 1996 and from 1998 through 2009. In 2010, he became manager of China's Jiangsu Hopestars. He was inducted into the Taiwan Baseball Hall of Fame in 2020.

His repertoire featured a knuckleball, curveball, changeup, shuuto (two-seamer) and fastball (peak 92 mph).