America’s Pastime in China

The Major League Baseball Postseason is well underway with 10 teams vying for the World Series Championship. Baseball is considered “America’s Pastime”, but the sport has become a worldwide phenomenon with a reach far greater than just the United States. China and Chinese Taipei are two such places that field teams for the quadrennial international World Baseball Classic (WBC).

The two Chinese teams have been participating in the WBC since its inception in 2006. Although they have never medaled, both teams have successfully qualified for one of four available spots each time; beating out eight other teams. Some members of these Chinese teams also have played or are playing in MLB.

There are currently eight Chinese players in Major League Baseball. Sorted by Major League debut, they are:

Name Team(s) Debut
Chien-Ming Wang (Taiwan)

New York Yankees, Washington Nationals, Toronto Blue Jays, Kansas City Royals

April 30, 2005
 Wei-Yin Chen (Taiwan) Baltimore Orioles, Miami Marlins April 10, 2012
 C.C. Lee (Taiwan)  Cleveland Indians July 14, 2013
Wei-Chung Wang (Taiwan)  Milwaukee Brewers April 14, 2014
 Austin Brice (China) Miami Marlins August 12, 2016
 Chih-Wei Hu (Taiwan)  Tampa Bay Rays April 24, 2017
 Tzu-Wei Lin (Taiwan)  Boston Red Sox June 24, 2017
 Jen-Ho Tseng (Taiwan)  Chicago Cubs  September 14, 2017

Of these eight active players, three (Lee, Lin, and Tseng) are currently participating in the 2017 MLB Postseason. The only World Series Champion among the eight is Chien-Ming Wang (pictured below) who won in 2009 with the New York Yankees. Wang is also the first Taiwanese baseball player to have played Major League Baseball.

The next generation of Chinese baseball stars are playing as part of China’s national Little League teams. The Chinese Taipei Little League team has won a record seventeen Little League World Series and ten in a thirteen year period. The most recent championship appearance for the Chinese Taipei team happened in 2009 (team pictured below).

These young phenoms will grow up to play in the China Baseball League (CBL). The CBL is the national baseball league of China and has eight clubs spanning six provinces and two municipalities. The China Baseball League was the proving ground of multiple Major Leaguers and has been a huge success in terms of popularity throughout China.

Obviously, China has proven baseball is not only “America’s Pastime”, but rather the world’s.


There are 8 comments

  1. Matthew L.

    What an interesting article! I was not familiar that China had such a connection to baseball. As an avid fan, I am intrigued by how many young and prospective players are from China. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Maya Yu

    Great job on the article, Nick! It’s so interesting to see how Western culture is infused into Eastern ones. Keep up the great work.

  3. Juliann L

    This article was so informative and interesting. I like how you connected an American sport to China. The chart you provided organized the information nicely. It’s great how a sport can connect people all over the world. Great article!

  4. Nikki Brotter

    When I learned about cultural diffusion in ninth grade, I never knew how it related to today’s culture and time period. It’s so cool how the world is connected and can share similar interests.

  5. Tiffany C

    Wow! It’s interesting to see some Chinese players on the baseball field, since it’s usually an American sport. Thanks for sharing.

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