Kaoping Fala

From BR Bullpen

http://twbsball.dils.tku.edu.tw/wiki/images/0/01/FALA.jpg

Kaoping Fala (高屏雷公), offically Kaohsiung and Pingtung Fala and also known as Kaoping Thunder Gods, were a team in the Taiwan Major League. They were based in the counties of Kaohsiung and Pingtung.

In the league's first year in 1997, the Fala were 42-51, third of four clubs. One bright spot was Corey Powell, who hit 25 homers, six behind league leader Sam Horn. The next season, they finished first in the regular season (62-45-1) but fell to Taipei Gida in the finals. Luis de los Santos (.357, 27 HR, 96 RBI) led the loop in average and possibly RBI as well, while Powell cracked another 25 homers and was second with a .336 average. The team had five of the top nine in average and three of the top 9 in ERA, led by Don August (19-5, 2.56, 4th in ERA, first in wins).

Kaohsiung and Pingtung fell all the way to last at 36-47-1. August (5-13, 3.82) fell to 10th in ERA while De los Santos (.317, 11 HR, 58 RBI) declined as well. Powell homered 25 times for the third year in a row and led the TML. Batting champion Brad Strauss (.387) began the season with the Fala.

In 2000, Kaohsiung was second (40-43-1) and got swept by Taipei in the best-of-7 finals. Tim Kester (12-5, 2.95) and Yi-nan Li (6-6, 2.95) led the staff while Yi-chung Hung hit .357, second in the league. The next year, the Fala were third at 31-28-1 as the 4-team league went from having one team over .500 to having one team under .500. Chung-wei Pan was second in average (.343), while Freddie Diaz homered 9 times (possibly the most in the TML) while finishing fifth in batting (.313). Yi-sung Li (3-4, 2.43) was second in ERA and Ted Silva (3-4, 2.45) third. Ying-Chieh Lin (13-3, 2.73) led the league in wins and strikeouts (115) though he missed the top five in ERA.

The team's last year resulted in a 34-37-1, second-place finish and a third loss in the finals, this time to the Taichung Agan. Wen-hsiung Hsu (6-7, 2.78) was third in ERA and Lioner Vazquez (7-5, 2.88) was fourth. The league merged with the Chinese Professional Baseball League after that year and the Fala ceased to exist.