Tai-Yuan Kuo

Tai-Yuan Kuo

Tai-Yuan Kuo (Traditional Chinese: 郭泰源; Hanyu Pinyin: Guō Tàiyuán; Wade-Giles: Kuo T’ai-Yüan; Japanese: たいげん かく, Taigen Kaku, born March 20, 1962 in Tainan City, Taiwan) is a retired Taiwanese NPB baseball pitcher and currently a baseball coach. With 117 wins accumulated during his 13 seasons in the Seibu Lions, Kuo set the record of being the international player who achieves most wins in the NPB history, and is widely regarded as the greatest Taiwanese pitcher before Chien-Ming Wang(interestingly, both of them plus Hong-Chih Kuo and Chin-Lung Hu are all Tainan City natives).

Career

Amateur

Originally a shortstop, Kuo started to practice pitching in his high school era and immediately became well-known for his fast pitching speed. In the 1983 Chinese Taipei versus South Korea match in Asian Baseball Championship, Kuo did not allow any score during his consecutive 17-inning pitching and had a fastball speed of up to 154 km/h (96 mph). He finally won the game and helped the Chinese Taipei national baseball team qualify the 1984 Summer Olympics.

In the 1984 Olympics preliminary round Chinese Taipei versus U.S. match Kuo had a fastball pitch of up to 158 km/h (98 mph) and only allowed 2 scores(with only one earned run) during his 9-inning pitching, winning him the nickname "Oriental Express". However the Chinese Taipei team still lost to the USA team which had Will Clark, Mark McGwire and the like. Kuo later pitched in the semifinal Chinese Taipei versus Japan match, only allowed one score during his 4.2 inning pitching. Kuo's excellent performance drew Seibu Lions' attention and he signed with the club after the 1984 Summer Olympics.

Seibu Lions

As a rookie, Kuo immediately gained a position in Seibu Lion's starting rotation and miraculously no-hit the Nippon Ham Fighters on June 4, 1985, less than 2 months after his debut, and is the first international player to achieve so in the Pacific League history. Kuo's other notable achievements during his NPB career included:
*Achieved a streak of 10 consecutive wins during the 1989 season
*Achieved a streak of 9 consecutive complete games, and was elected as the most valuable player of the Pacific League in the 1991 season
*Achieved a streak of 3 consecutive shutouts in the 1992 season
*Highest winning percentage in the 1988 and 1994 season

Career Statistics:

Kuo finally retired by the end of 1997 season after he suffered long time wound which cost him a vacant season. Shortly after Kuo's retirement a poll in the Seibu Lions' official website unanimously voted Kuo as the most popular international player in the Seibu Lions history.

Professional Baseball in Taiwan

After retiring from Seibu Lions, the Taiwan Major League(TML) immediately hired Kuo as "senior technical consultant" until the league's collapse in early 2003. Meantime he introduced his former Seibu teammates Takehiro Ishii and Hisanobu Watanabe to join TML, originally as players and later as coaches. He also acted as go-between to help then young Ming-Chieh Hsu and Chang Chih-chia join Seibu Lions, following his steps.

After a disappointing 2003 in which he was temporarily jobless and suffered marital crisis(as revealed in the "Personal Life" section later), in 2004 he started to head coach the Macoto Cobras until the end of 2005 season. During his 2 seasons with the Cobras Kuo accumulated a 93 wins, 97 loses, and 17 ties performance. In the 2005 Taiwan Series the Cobras were swept by the Sinon Bulls 0-4 and Kuo resigned right after the fiasco, addressing that "I would like to spend more time with my family". He later introduced Macoto Cobras players En-Yu Lin and Ying-Chieh Lin to join Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles.

Chinese Taipei national baseball team

On February 15 2007, Kuo was appointed as the head coach of the Chinese Taipei national baseball team by the Chinese Taipei Baseball Association. His tasks included the 2007 Baseball World Cup and 2007 Asian Baseball Championships. However the Chinese Taipei national baseball team performed poorly in both tournaments and he was exempted from the post on December 15, 2007.

Basic Information

*Number: 12 (1984~86), 18 (1987~97), 88 (since 2004)
*Height: 180 cm
*Weight: 72 kg
*Bats/throws: R/R

Personal life

Kuo married Taiwanese model and actress Chang Chiung-tzu(張瓊姿, also credited as Zhang Qiuzi by Chinese media) in December 1993. After their marrying Chang temporarily gave up her acting career in Taiwan to live with Kuo in Japan until his retirement late in 1997. Together, they had 2 daughters born in 1997 and 1999. However their relationship was badly damaged when Apple Daily (Taiwan) revealed Chang's extramarital affair with local fitness coach Pan Ruo-di(潘若迪) in May 2003. For the coming several years this couple had been in separation and were repeatedly reported to have agreed to divorce, until their mutual announcement that they have mended their relationship and would not divorce early in 2007.

References

* [http://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/Taigen_Kaku Taigen Kaku in Baseball-references.com]
* [http://twbsball.dils.tku.edu.tw/wiki/index.php?title=%E9%83%AD%E6%B3%B0%E6%BA%90 Taigen Kaku in in Taiwan Baseball Wiki (in Traditional Chinese)]
* [http://www.dk101.com/Discuz/archiver/?tid-59939.html Kuo and Chang's mutual announcement about their marriage (in Traditional Chinese)]


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