Team China Preview: 2017 World Baseball Classic
There has been no player of Chinese birth and ethnicity to make the Major Leagues. Only one player born in China has played at that level, and he was the son of missionaries in China. That would be Harry Kingman who played a few games in 1914 for the New York Yankees.
Ray Chang came close to making it to the big leagues. He put together a solid minor league and international career. This will be his third WBC with China after which he will call it a career. When he hangs up his spikes he will go onto what might be an even more important career for the game itself, running the Nanjing academy full time.
Trying to become the first player born in China to make it to the big leagues is Xu Guiyuan. He made his pro debut in 2016 for the Gulf Coast League Orioles, and he is one to watch for China in the WBC.
Giving China a veteran presence is Bruce Chen. The 17-year MLB veteran will get the nod in Game 1 for China against Cuba. With 82 big league wins Chen brings experience to the team that can only benefit the youngsters from China. And that is really what all of this is about for China.
China might surprise a few. They might steal a win like they have done in the past, but don’t look for them to get out of Round 1. It is about the future and all of the young players playing for them will not only get the experience of a lifetime, but they will be getting experience they can use moving forward in their baseball careers.
Eric Bynum is Managing Editor here at BaseballdeWorld. He spent three years as an ESL teacher in South Korea, and is now working on his master's degree in history with a focus on baseball and WWII. He has played and/or written about baseball for the past 30 years and is an avid Atlanta Braves fan.