Earlier this month, some of the world’s best little and big league teams descended on San Jose and Monterey, California, to see which teams and nations would take home championship trophies. Taiwan’s little league baseball team arrived to participate in the Bronco League World Series in Monterey from August 4th to 11th. On August 10th, they reached the semi-finals, but unfortunately lost to a team from Brooklyn, New York. A few hours away in San Jose, its big league team competed at the Palomino World Series starting August 7th. Last night, Taiwan’s team made it to the final playoff and came in second against a team from Houston, Texas.
Taiwan’s little league has been among the leading teams in recent years. In the Bronco League World Series, Taiwan were runners up in 2006 and 2008, and third in 2007. In the Palomino World Series, Taiwan won the championship in 2006 and came second in 2007 and 2008.
The Palomino has long been considered the training ground for players 17-19 wishing to go on to Major League Baseball. Although Taiwan’s professional teams are not a dominating force in the world of baseball, the island still produces stellar players such as Chien-ming Wang, the starting pitcher for the New York Yankees.
In Taiwan, baseball became a national passion after the Hongye (Red Leaves) baseball team from Taitung County defeated its seemingly invincible Japanese counterpart in 1968. Over the next 27 years, Taiwan would go on to win an incredible 17 Little League World Series Championships in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. At its peak in 1974, Taiwan’s little league, senior league and big league all took home championship honors. This year, the Kuei-shan Elementary School from Taoyuan County will represent Taiwan in the 2009 Little League Baseball World Series from August 21st to 30th.
Closer to home, Taitung County’s Taiyuan Elementary School kicked-off their tournament campaign on August 4th in Monterey. Located in the eastern part of the island, Taitung County is home to the legendary Red Leaves baseball team and has produced many professional baseball players. The big league players are from Pin-cheng Senior High School in Taoyuan County. Baseball is king there and it is where the best teams – such as Kuei-shan – can usually be found.