(Redirected from Hong-Chih Kuo)
(also known as Hong-Chih Kuo)
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 2", Weight 240 lb.
- High School Nan-Ying Vocational High School
- Debut September 2, 2005
- Final Game September 24, 2011
- Born July 23, 1981 in Tainan City, Taiwan
He signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers as an international free agent in 1999 and became the first Taiwanese high schooler to be signed by a Major League Baseball team. He started in professional ball with the the San Bernardino Stampede in 2000, pitching just one game and then needing Tommy John surgery (However, he struck out 7 out of the 9 batters he faced.). He had limited action in 2001 and 2002 due to the injury (he appeared in 7 games each year). He did play, however, for Taiwan in the 2002 Asian Games. In 2003 he was recovering from his second Tommy John surgery and did not pitch. In 2004 he appeared in three games with the Columbus Catfish of the South Atlantic League.
Finally, in 2005, he was able to pitch in a substantial number of ballgames. He played 11 games for the Vero Beach Dodgers of the Florida State League, with an ERA of 2.08 and a record of 1-1, striking out 42 in only 26 innings and allowing a .202 average. He then moved up to the Jacksonville Suns of the Southern League for 17 games in relief; he had an ERA of 1.91 with a record of 1-1 and three saves. He broke in with the Los Angeles Dodgers for 9 games in relief, posting an ERA of 6.75 in 5 1/3 innings in 2005.
Kuo pitched for Taiwan in the 2006 World Baseball Classic, striking out 3 in 1 2/3 IP but allowing three runs. All his appearances for the Dodgers that year were in relief until September 8, 2006, when he made his first start, in Shea Stadium. Several thousand extra tickets were sold as New York's Taiwanese community honored him. That night he pitched 6 innings, giving up 0 runs. He had 7 strikeouts in the 6 innings. In 2006, until that game, he had appeared in 23 games in relief, with an ERA of 5.34. In 30 1/3 innings he had notched 36 strikeouts along with 26 walks. He was also in Triple A with the Las Vegas 51s that year, with an ERA of 3.06 and a record of 4-3 in 23 appearances, mostly in relief. He had 63 strikeouts in 53 innings.
Kuo holds the record for the fewest career wins at the time of a postseason start. He had only one major league win before starting Game 2 in the 2006 NLDS. The previous record was two wins, by Gary Waslewski of the Boston Red Sox in the 1967 World Series. He won Gold in the 2006 Asian Games, Taiwan's only Gold in baseball in an Asian Games through 2020.
Oddly, the pitcher became the first Taiwanese player to homer in a major league game, though slugger Chin-Feng Chen had made the majors ahead of him. Kuo made history on June 12th when he homered off John Maine in the 2nd inning. It was the third Dodgers home run in a three-pitch stretch, following Wilson Betemit and Matt Kemp.
Hung-Chih Kuo was named to the National League All-Star team in 2010, replacing the injured Jason Heyward. He was sporting a 1.03 ERA at the time and became the first All-Star from Taiwan. He finished the season with a 1.20 ERA, the lowest in team history.
Kuo was placed on the disabled list on May 11, 2011, suffering from anxiety disorder. He had battled bouts of losing his control completely in the past, a problem that is usually more psychological than physical, notably in 2009 when it had taken him three months to recover from the condition. He returned to the mound on June 21st, pitching a perfect inning against the Detroit Tigers.
- NL All-Star (2010)