Ying-Chieh Kao (高英傑) listed as Eiketsu Ko in Japan
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 0", Weight 176 lb.
- Born October 24, 1955 in Chiayi City Taiwan listed as October 20 at BR Japan; most other sources list 24
Ying-Chieh Kao was a top Taiwanese player of the 1970s and 1980s.
Kao played for Taiwan in the 1973 Asian Championship when they won the Bronze Medal, and in the 1973 Amateur World Series run by FEMBA, 1974 Amateur World Series and 1975 Asian Championship. The Cincinnati Reds signed Kao but he had to do mandatory military service (he was in the Air Force) and never wound up playing in the US; Shin-Ming Tan was the only Taiwanese native to be in the minor leagues to that point. Kao also was with the Taiwanese national team in the 1976 Amateur World Series and 1977 Intercontinental Cup. He was named the top pitcher in a 1976 amateur global tournament but had the honor removed as he was deemed to be a professional as he had signed with the Reds.
In 1979, Kao hit a home run over 400 feet, one of the longest shots in Taiwanese annals. He signed with the Nankai Hawks, only the 8th Taiwanese native to play with a team from Nippon Pro Baseball. Things would change in the 1980s with several Taiwanese stars going to Japan. He was 3-1 with a 4.39 ERA for Nankai in 1980 but hurt his elbow. He pitched one shutout inning (2 BB, 3 K) in 1981 but moved to the outfield for the rest of his career due to the injury.
Kao (or Eiketsu Ko as they called him in NPB) hit .180/.219/.279 as a backup outfielder for the '81 Hawks. He batted .243/.269/.284 in 78 plate appearances in 1982 and was 1 for 12 in 1983, though he did hit .360 with a league-best 45 RBI in the Japanese minor leagues that year. He finished his NPB career with a .204/.234/.265 batting line in 77 games and a 3-1, 4.23 pitching record.
The Chiayi native later was a long-time coach for the Taiwanese national team, working with them in the 1984 Olympics, 1990 Baseball World Cup, 1990 Asian Games (first place; baseball was not yet a medal event), 1991 Asian Championship (Silver Medal), 1991 Intercontinental Cup, 1992 Olympics (Silver), 1993 Asian Championship (Bronze) and 1995 Universiade. He then managed Taiwan in the 1997 Asian Championship (Bronze), 1998 Baseball World Cup and 1998 Asian Games (Bronze). He coached for Taiwan one more time, in the 2004 World University Championship. He also coached for teams that won the 1986 Little League World Series and 1987 Little League World Series.
Kao, who got his master's degree in Japan, has been an assistant professor at the Taipei Physical Education College. He has been on Taiwan's selection committee for the 2013 World Baseball Classic and has been a senior adviser for the Chinatrust Brothers.