Ex-players' tragic endings serve as a warning to game-throwers
The China Post news staffThe names of two former professional baseball players in Taiwan recently became headline stories in local newspapers years after their departures from the baseball diamond.
February 8, 2013, 12:01 am TWN
Their stories, however, were not running on sports pages as before, but instead on the local crime beat.
One of the ex-players is Hsu Wen-hsiung (許文雄), a former La New Bears ace pitcher and a member of Taiwan's national squad at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
Hsu was arrested last week on suspicion of transporting stout camphor tree logs from a forest in Kaohsiung City's Namasiya District (那瑪夏). He was charged by prosecutors with chopping down these endangered trees to sell them for timber.
Hsu, a 34-year-old Namasiya resident, told investigators that he did not cut down the trees and had only helped transport the wood.
He said that he agreed to do so only because he had not had a job for two months and needed to earn some money for the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday.
It is illegal to chop down or sell stout camphor trees, an endangered species of aromatic tree endemic to Taiwan.
Only several days later, another ex-baseballer, Chu Chih-yuan (褚志遠), a former first baseman for the now-disbanded China Times Eagles, was also arrested under the charges of collecting debts by making armed threats against debtors.
It is extremely sad for fans to read such stories when they witness the players they used to love of falling from grace and end up involved with illicit activities.
This is, however, not the first time for the pair of players to face accusations of carrying out unlawful acts.
The reason Hsu and Chu left the baseball field was over their involvement in game-throwing scandals.
Hsu was fired by the Bears in 2009 after he was implicated in a match-fixing scandal. Chu, on the other hand, was forced to leave baseball behind along with many of his teammates in 1997 after Taiwan's law enforcement authorities uncovered a large-scale game-throwing scandal when almost the entire Eagles team was bought off.
The scandal was the infamous “Black Eagles Incident” which ultimately forced the team to be disbanded in 1998.
Hsu and Chu are only two examples of dozens of players that were found to be involved in game fixing and were forced to leave baseball over the last 24 years of local pro league's history.