Yi-Hsin Chen (陳義信)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 10", Weight 176 lb.
- School Fu Jen Catholic University
Yi-Hsin Chen (known as Yoshinobu Chin in Japan) was one of Taiwan's greatest pitchers in the 20th Century. He was a national star in the 1980s, appearing in the Olympics and other events. He pitched briefly in Japan, then came to Taiwan when that country set up its first professional league. He won 3 MVP awards and set the all-time win record. He is an uncle of minor leaguer Hung-Wen Chen. Chen threw a fastball, slider, forkball, curveball and changeup.
Chen pitched for Taiwan in the 1984 Haarlem Baseball Week. In the 1985 Intercontinental Cup, he allowed 10 hits, 5 walks and 10 runs in 5 2/3 innings, going 0-1. In the 1986 Amateur World Series, the right-hander had a 2.08 ERA. In the 1987 Asian Championship, Chen fanned 14 in 10 innings, allowing one hit and no walks or runs in going 1-0. He went 1-0 with a 2.77 ERA in the 1987 Intercontinental Cup.
Yi-Hsin concluded his amateur career with the 1988 Baseball World Cup (2-1, 3.46, 22 K in 26 IP) and the 1988 Olympics (0-1, 1.29 in 3 games). In the World Cup, he tied Charles Nagy, Rheal Cormier and Andy Benes for 4th in strikeouts, trailing Takehiro Ishii, Lazaro Valle and Ki-bum Kim.
Chen signed with the Chunichi Dragons in Nippon Pro Baseball. He went 3-1 with a 5.19 ERA in 16 games (two starts) in 1989. In 1990, the 26-year-old allowed 7 runs in 7 1/3 IP to conclude his NPB career.
When the Chinese Professional Baseball League was formed in 1991, Chen returned to his homeland. Joining the Brother Elephants, he went 15-13 with 5 saves and a 2.87 ERA in the first CPBL season. In 1992, Yi-Hsin was 16-5 with 3 saves and a 2.64 ERA. He was honored to the Best Nine as the top pitcher in Taiwan. His three Best Ten nods were unmatched until Mike Loree did so from 2015-2017.
Chen was even better in 1993, going 20-7 with a 1.92 ERA in 258 1/3 innings of work. He completed 23 of 28 starts and won his first MVP award, the first ever given by the league. The next season, he was 22-4 with 2 saves and a 2.61 ERA, tying the CPBL record for wins in a season (held by Jose Nunez) and leading the Elephants to both the first-half and second-half titles. He was 6th in the league in ERA. He won his second MVP.
Chen fell to 8-15, 3.14 in 1995 and was 9th in the CPBL in ERA. In 1996, he had a 11-8, 4.28 record and became the first pitcher in CPBL history to reach 90 wins.
The Taiwan Major League was created as a rival to the CPBL in 1997 and Chen was among those lured to the new circuit. Pitching for the Chianan Luka, he went 19-11 and was 4th in the TML with a 3.09 ERA; he was the lone Taiwan native in the top 10 in ERA. He won the first TML MVP award, making him a 3-time MVP in the first 7 years of Taiwanese professional baseball.
In 1998, Chen went 12-11 with a 3.87 ERA and one save. The next season, the veteran was 11-14 with a 3.38 ERA and placed 7th in the TML in ERA. He wrapped up his career by going 7-13 with a 3.63 ERA in 2000 and finishing 9th in the circuit in ERA.
After retiring as a player, Chen became a TV baseball commentator.
Chen was 3-1 with a 5.90 ERA in NPB, 92-52 with a 2.82 ERA in the CPBL and 49-49 with a 3.45 ERA in the TML. His 141 wins remain the Taiwan professional record through 2007.