The Chinese Professional Baseball League is a premium professional baseball league in Taiwan. Understandably, many people tend to mistake it with the China National Baseball league, a Chinese professional baseball league.
Taiwan originally had two professional leagues, the Taiwan Major League, founded in 1997 with four clubs, and the Chinese Professional Baseball league, established in 1989.
Later, in 2003, the Taiwan Major League was merged into the Chinese Professional Baseball league.
This article entails a brief history of the CPBL (Chinese Professional Baseball league) and its current status.
Chinese Professional Baseball league History
Baseball was played in Taiwan for the first time during Japanese rule. During the 1970s and 1980s, the sport gained rapid popularity as the national league baseball teams won various championships in the Little League World Series. Taiwan’s national team also performed well internationally.
Until then, the country did not have any professional league, and there was not much interest in participating in the sport. In 1984, a local hotelier, Hung Teng-Sheng, formed his own baseball team and strived to make it a professional team. During the following years, he contacted various local businesses and persuaded them to invest in forming professional baseball clubs. Most businesses rejected his requests, while only a few supported him.
It was a result of Hung Teng-Sheng’s continuous efforts that the Chinese Professional Baseball League was established in 1989. The businesses that supported Hung in his efforts included Uni-President, Mercuries Chain Stores, and Wei Chuan Corporation. To honour Hung’s contribution to baseball, Hung is remembered as the Father of the CPBL.
Eight years after the CPBL was formed, the Taiwan Major League was founded, and right away, it posed a serious challenge to CPBL’s domination in the country. Thus began an era of extreme competition between the two leagues, with the Taiwan Major League ending with heavy losses. In 2003, Taiwan Major League was absorbed by the Chinese Professional Baseball Association.
Chinese Professional Baseball league structure
All the teams in the CPBL are named after and owned by Taiwanese companies, a practice we also see in Japan and Korea. The teams cater to a regional market within their home city. However, they do not play in that market only.
Chinese Professional Baseball league Season
A regular baseball season begins in March and ends in October, with the first half ending in June or July, and teams play among each other throughout the season.
Regular season games are followed by playoffs in October or early November. Three teams compete in the playoffs in two rounds. These teams have either won a half-season or have acquired wild card admittance to the playoff by getting the highest seasonal rank.
A team that wins the half-season is not given the seasonal rank. Two wild card entries are admitted in the playoffs if one team wins both half-seasons.
The winning team goes on to compete in the Asia series and plays against professional baseball leagues of countries including China, South Korea, and Japan. The previous season’s winners were Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions.
Besides the major league, the CPBL also has a minor league which was formed in 2003 in cooperation with Chinese Taipei Baseball Association. Currently, it has teams, and each team plays 80 games every season. These teams are owned by the member clubs of the CPBL and are held as reserve teams.
What teams are included in the Chinese Professional Baseball league?
Currently, the CPBL has six teams. These include the CTBC Brothers, Fubon Guardians, Rakuten Monkeys, Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions, Wei Chuan Dragons, and TSG Hawks. The Wei Chuan Dragons were among the initial teams of the CPBL, but it was discontinued in 1999, and in 2020, it was revived and is now an active member of the league. Around four clubs that were a part of the CPBL earlier have become defunct.
Does the Chinese Professional Baseball league allow foreign players?
Each team on the CPBL is allowed to have foreign players, but the number of foreign players cannot exceed four, and out of these four players, only three are allowed to be listed as active members on the team roster.
The fourth player can either practice with the major league team or play in the minor league.
Once a foreign player is sent to the minor league, they must wait at least a week before they are elicited to the major league.
What is the Chinese Professional Baseball league All-Star Game?
Besides the CPBL championship, the CPBL also organises an All-Star Game, an annual game that is also known as the White vs. Red All-Star game. The teams participating in the All-Star game are organised according to the geographic locations of the member clubs of the CPBL.