First CPBL Game: March 17, 1990
On March 17, 1990, the first CPBL game was played in front of a sold-out crowd at the Taipei Baseball Stadium (demolished in 2000). 14,350 Taiwanese baseball fans witnessed the Uni-Lions secured their historic first win by defeating the Brother Elephants 4-3.
In the late ’80s, in order to keep the top tier baseball talents in Taiwan. The idea of forming a Taiwanese professional baseball league started to gathering momentum.
After several years of planning, on October 1989, the CPBL (Chinese Professional Baseball League) was established with a four-team structure. Brother Elephants, Uni-President Lions, Wei-Chuan Dragons and Mercuries Tigers.
First Pitch Ceremony: Sadaharu Oh
The NPB legend Sadaharu Oh (王貞治) was invited to participate in the first pitch ceremony and as the game commentator for the day. Apart from the domestic broadcast, the CPBL Opening Day game also broadcasted in Japan by the NHK.
Few Familiar Faces From Almost 30 Years Ago
The Lamigo Monkeys’ current manager 洪一中 (Hung I-Chung) was the catcher batting clean-up, while the 2017 Uni-Lions’ bullpen coach 杜福明 (Tu Fu-Ming) was the opening day starting pitcher.
Here is the footage of their first encounter at the bottom of the first inning. Tu was able to retired Hung with an infield pop-fly.
First CPBL Home Run: Wang Chun-Liang
Leading up the Opening Day, the media were trying to predict who would hit the first home run in the CPBL history. To everyone’s surprise, the first home run was by the Uni-Lions’ third baseman 汪俊良 (Wang Chun-Liang).
During that time, the official CPBL magazine was running a national promotion, they were giving away a television set to a lucky fan that guessed the person who hit the first CPBL home run. And since no one in the country picked Wang Chun-Liang, the league gave the winning prize to Wang.
Wang Chun-Liang played for the Uni-Lions from 1990 to 1994, and during his five seasons in the CPBL, he posted a career record of .243/.323/.298 with two home runs.