Ming-Tsu Lu

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Ming-Tsu Lu

Ming-Tsu Lu (呂明賜) (known as Mei-Shi Ro in Japan)

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 10", Weight 165 lb.

Biographical Information[edit]

Ming-Tsu Lu has had a long and productive career in Taiwanese baseball. He played every position except for shortstop and pitcher during his career but was primarily an outfielder after starting out as a catcher. He won a Little League World Series then starred on the international stage from 1984-1987. Lu began his professional baseball career in Japan on such a hot note that he led to a rule change as a rookie. He only played four years in Japan, then set a record in his native Taiwan, where he ended his playing career. He later was an announcer and coach in Taiwan. He coached for his homeland in both the World Baseball Classic and Olympics.

Amateur Career[edit]

Lu played for the winning team in the 1977 Little League World Series. [1] He was with the Taiwan national team for four years while in college. As the starting catcher in the 1984 Amateur World Series, he hit .250/.276/.500 with 7 RBI in 10 games and threw out 3 of 4 would-be base-stealers.

Lu was with Taiwan for the 1985 Asian Championship, 1985 Intercontinental Cup (in which he was named the All-Star DH), 1986 Amateur World Series, 1987 Asian Championship and 1987 Intercontinental Cup. He hit .463 and slugged 1.172 in the 1987 Cup, with 6 home runs, but lost All-Tournament honors at catcher to an even more prodigious slugger, Orestes Kindelan. He outhit several future major leaguers on the US squad, including Robin Ventura and John Valentin. [2]

Japan[edit]

Lu got an offer from the Baltimore Orioles but signed instead with the Yomiuri Giants, because Yomiuri was being managed by the legendary Sadaharu Oh.

Lu started his career in Japan quickly, homering 10 times in his first 18 games; two of those shots were game-winners. He debuted on June 14 and went deep against Bob Gibson on the second pitch he saw as a pro. After that, Lu's production fell due to injuries and fatigue - he finished the 1988 season with a .255/.333/.474 and 16 homers in 274 AB. [3] Lu's quick start led to a change in the NPB All-Star Game rules; previously, only two foreigners were allowed on each team. This was temporarily revised so that Lu could play for the Central League. Author Robert Whiting notes that a similar revision had not been done for an American, such as Jim Paciorek, second in the 1988 CL in average. [4] Lu was criticized by Japanese coaches for not concentrating as much in practice as in game situations and for his swinging for power rather than contact. He did try to fit in with the other culture, saying "I want to be the type of player who is loved by the Japanese fans" and winning praise for his effort by legendary Shigeo Nagashima. [5]

Lu batted .282/.300/.436 with 2 home runs in 39 AB for Yomiuri in 1989 and was 1 for 5 in the 1989 Japan Series, which the Giants won. In 1990, he was 4 for 13 for Yomiuri, followed by a 4-16 performance in 1991. Overall, he hit .260/.332/.462 with 18 HR in 342 AB and 113 games in NPB; after his quick start of 10 homers in 18 games, he hit 8 home runs in his final 95 games there - not a bad pace, but a far cry from his amazing beginning. He spent a fair bit of time from 1989-1991 in ni-gun, playing well. [6]

Taiwan[edit]

In 1992, Lu signed with the Wei Chuan Dragons. He hit .258/.382/.422 his first year in the Chinese Professional Baseball League; he finished sixth in OBP. In 1993, he batted .293/.379/.444. He tied Kuei-Chang Tseng and Leo Garcia for fifth in OBP. The next year, he hit just .199/.273/.276 in 54 games. During the 1995 season, his batting line was .328/.389/.528 with 15 homers in 88 games. He was 4th in the CPBL in average, second among Taiwan natives; he was behind Angel Gonzalez, Luis de los Santos and Cheng-Hsien Chen. He was also 5th in home runs, trailing Ming-Hsiung Liao, George Hinshaw, Luis Iglesias and Sil Campusano, was 6th in RBI (60), was 4th in OBP (trailing Gonzalez, de los Santos and Iglesias), 6th in slugging and third in OPS (behind Gonzalez and Iglesias).

Lu hit .339/.417/.547 with 16 home runs, 71 runs and 66 RBI in 97 games in 1996. He set a CPBL record that year with a 25-game hitting streak; the record would be broken by I-Tseng Lin. [7] He finished 10th in average, tied Tai-Shan Chang for 7th in homers, was 5th in runs scored, was 7th in OBP, 9th in slugging and tied Hector Roa for 6th in OPS.

In 1997, Lu switched to the Taiwan Major League, signing with his hometown Kaoping Fala. He batted .333/.394/.451 his first year with the club but did not play enough to qualify for the batting leaders. The next year, he hit .301/.336/.413 and made the Best Nine in the outfield alongside Corey Powell and Campusano. He was 9th in the league in average, .001 behind I-Chung Hong for the lead among Taiwan natives. With the 1999 Fala, Ming-Tsu batted .282/.314/.373. During 2000, he hit .301/.345/.434 to wrap up his playing career.

Overall in the CPBL, he hit .293/.379/.461. In the TML, he batted .301/.342/.423. [8]

Broadcasting and Coaching[edit]

Lu became a coach with Kaoping in 2001-2002. In 2003, he worked as a TV baseball commentator. He coached the Macoto Cobras from 2003-2005 and moved to the La New Bears in 2006. In 2008, he served as interim coach for the Bears, going 11-5 in place of I-Chung Hong. [9]

Additionally, Lu has coached for the Taiwan national team in the 2006 World Baseball Classic, 2007 Baseball World Cup, 2007 Asian Championship, 2008 Olympics, 2011 Baseball World Cup and 2011 World Port Tournament. [10] He later managed Taiwan in the 2013 World Port Tournament and to a Silver Medal in the 2014 Asian Games. [11]

Sources[edit]

  1. Japan Baseball Daily by Gary Garland
  2. All international tournament statistics came from an older edition of the IBAF website or the 1988 Baseball Almanac
  3. Japanbaseballdaily.com, previously cited
  4. "You Gotta Have Wa" by Robert Whiting, Taiwan Baseball Blog
  5. "You Gotta Have Wa", pg. 309-310
  6. Japanbaseballdaily.com, previously cited
  7. Wiki Baseball (in Chinese)
  8. CPBL statistics come from the 1995-1998 Baseball Almanacs, CPBL website and KT Choi's Taiwanese baseball database)
  9. Wiki Baseball (in Chinese)
  10. Taiwan Wiki Baseball (previously cited), Final Reports for 2007 Baseball World Cup and 2007 Asian Championship
  11. World Port Tournament, Yonhap News

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