The Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL; Chinese: 中華職業棒球大聯盟) is the top-tier professional baseball league in the Republic of China (Taiwan), known internationally as Chinese Taipei. The league was established in 1989 and played the first season in 1990. CPBL eventually absorbed the competing Taiwan Major League in 2003. As of the 2021 season, the CPBL consists of five organizations, all of which have teams in the main league and farm league.

The CPBL consists of Major (Chinese: 一軍; lit. 'first/primary corps') and, since 2006, Minor (Chinese: 二軍; lit. 'second/reserve corps') leagues, with the Minor league team rosters consist of developmental and injury-recovering players.

CPBL TV is CPBL's official paid live-streaming and video-on-demand platform. It receives signals from each team's broadcasting partners and is available worldwide.

History

Baseball was first introduced to Taiwan during Japanese rule, and gained popularity when the national little league baseball teams won numerous Little League World Series championships in the 1970s and 1980s. The national baseball team also performed exceptionally well in many international competitions. However, the development of baseball in Taiwan was limited due to the lack of a professional league, and therefore many players were reluctant to commit to the sport.

The idea of forming a professional baseball league in Taiwan was first suggested by local Brother Hotel's chairman Hung Teng-sheng (洪騰勝). He formed his amateur Brother Hotel baseball team in 1984, and intended to professionalize his team and form a professional league within a few years. Throughout 1988 and 1989, Hung visited numerous Taiwanese businesses, trying to convince them to form professional baseball clubs. Most of his requests were rejected, but Wei Chuan Corporation, Mercuries Chain Stores, and Uni-President Corporation all supported the idea and formed teams. The Chinese Professional Baseball League was established on October 23, 1989, with Hung Teng-sheng acting as secretary-general. Because of his contribution to professional baseball in Taiwan, Hung is sometimes referred to as the "Father of the CPBL." Chung Meng-shun (鍾孟舜) designed every original logo of the four founding teams.

Expansions in 1990s

With the popularity rise in the first few years, Jungo Bears and China Times Eagles joined in 1993. Koos Group Whales joined in 1997. The league was consisted of seven teams in the 1997 season which is the maximum in CPBL history.

Fixed Game Scandals and decline in popularity

The Black Eagles Incident in 1997 resulted in major popularity decline. China Times Eagles was defunct after the 1997 season ended. Wei Chuan Dragons and Mercuries Tigers were also defunct after 1999 season which the Dragons just won all championships from 1997 to 1999.

Taiwan Major League and merger with CPBL

In 1997, the newly founded Taiwan Major League began to compete with the CPBL. The two leagues were often competing with each other, but eventually, the TML merged with the CPBL.

Recent expansions

In May 2019, commissioner John Wu announced that CPBL has agreed Ting Hsin International Group to join the league by reactivating a former team, Wei Chuan Dragons. The Dragons participated in the minor league in 2020, and returned to the major league in 2021.

After Tsai Chi-chang became commissioner in 2021, he proposed that Kaohsiung serve as the location for a new team since it was the only major city in Taiwan without a CPBL team at the time. In February 2022, Tsai announced that the sixth team would either be formed by Chunghwa Telecom or Taiwan Steel Group. It was later announced that the expansion team would be by Taiwan Steel Group. The proposed team name is TSG Hawks, and their home field would be Chengcing Lake Stadium in Kaohsiung.

31st Season in 2020

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the opening day of the 31st CPBL season on March 14 was delayed. It was originally brought earlier compared to previous seasons to accommodate the final qualifying tournament of 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

On 1 April, the CPBL announced that the season would begin from 11 April as the Rakuten Monkeys hosted the Chinatrust Brothers with the games being playing behind closed doors. This received international coverage because other major baseball leagues such as the MLB in North America, the NPB in Japan, and the KBO in South Korea, which were still severely impacted by the virus outbreak were unable to confirm the dates of their respective season openings. The annual CPBL All-Star Game was cancelled for the first time to accommodate to the compact schedule.