TAIPEI — The Chinese Taipei Baseball Team selection committee named I-Chung Hong, the winningest manager in Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) history, as team manager for II WBSC Premier12 in November.
Hong, current skipper for CPBL’s Lamigo Monkeys, played for Chinese Taipei at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and managed the squad at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Hong was also on the Chinese Taipei coaching staff of the inaugural World Baseball Classic in 2006.
Chinese Taipei will be the home team, hosting Group B, which features the men’s national teams of No. 1 Japan as well as baseball powerhouses No. 9 Venezuela and No. 11 Puerto Rico.
CPBL Commissioner John Wu said: “Hong will be the manager for Premier12…and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics [if Chinese Taipei qualifies].
With extensive international baseball experience at the highest levels under his belt, Hong appears confident in leading Chinese Taipei in what is set to become the most important global baseball tournament in history, with Olympic implications on the line.
“I feel the pressure, but I am now the National Team’s manager and I will do my best. It’s not like I never had that kind of pressure before, since I managed Chinese Taipei in the Olympics.”
With Hong installed as manager, the selection committee, formed by representatives of CPBL and the Chinese Baseball Association (CTBA) will take steps to fill the rest of the coaching staff in June and announce a preliminary roster by the end of July.
Hong’s appointment marks the first CPBL-CTBA joint decision since their landmark partnership agreement was announced in January.