Former MLB player becomes fastest to 1,000 hits in Taiwan league

Fubon Guardians outfielder Hu Chin-long (胡金龍)

TAIPEI (CNA) — Former major leaguer Hu Chin-long (胡金龍) on Saturday reached the 1,000 hit milestone in Taiwan’s Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) faster than any player in league history.

The 36-year-old Hu, who was with the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2007 to 2010 and the New York Mets in 2011, reached the milestone with a line drive hit to center in the top of the eighth in his Fubon Guardians’ 12-9 loss to the Rakuten Monkeys in Taoyuan.

After recording his 1,000th hit, Hu took off his helmet and bowed to the empty stadium in thanks, reflecting the reality of Taiwan’s pro baseball season opening without fans because of social distancing guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Fubon Guardians outfielder Hu Chin-long (胡金龍)

Hu also thanked his fans on his Facebook page and reflected on being the 23rd person in the league’s history to reach the milestone.

“The most important thing is to play baseball in a healthy and happy manner. Thank you for witnessing the milestone with me,” Hu said.

Fubon Guardians outfielder Hu Chin-long (胡金龍)

The infielder achieved the feat in 704 games, breaking the previous mark of 744 games set by Hu’s teammate Lin Yi-chuan (林益全), who has been in the CPBL since 2009.

Like Lin, Hu played with the EDA Rhinos from 2013-2016 and has been with the Fubon Guardians since 2017 after the Rhinos were taken over by the Fubon Group.

Only two players in CPBL history, which started in 1990, have reached the 2,000 hit-mark, with Chang Tai-shan (張泰山) the all-time leader with 2,134 hits.

Currently the only professional baseball league playing games anywhere in the world, the CPBL started its season in Taichung on April 12 after the first two games were postponed by rain.

The desperation among fans around the world for sports action of any kind led the Eleven Sports network, which broadcasts Monkeys games, to stream its games live via its Twitter account since the beginning of the season, and it has built an overseas following.

The 2020 regular season will run until Oct. 14.