Wang, who is scheduled to start at Yankee Stadium today against the Los Angeles Angels, has become more than the best ground-ball pitcher in the American League. At 26, he is a national hero in his home country, where he endorses computers and potato chips.
“When I used to go back to Taiwan, there weren’t that many events to go to,” Wang said through an interpreter before a game in Chicago last week. “Starting last year, there have been more events, and going out is not as convenient.”
The kinds of events he attends are telling. “Going to orphanages,” Wang said, “and events for premature babies.”
Wang started playing baseball in fourth grade, as a pitcher, first baseman and outfielder. He attended high school in Taipei, on the north side of the island of Taiwan. His home, Tainan, is in the south. It was through baseball that he learned an important part of his personal story.
“We were going out to a competition and needed our personal documents,” Wang said, explaining that meant the names, relationships and birthdates of family members. “When I got my documents, I learned who my biological parents were. My parents didn’t tell me.”
Wang found out then that his biological father was the man he knew as his uncle, Ping-Yin Wang. Wang’s parents had no children of their own and offered to raise him. They later had a daughter, Hsiu-Wen Wang, who is two years younger.
It must have been a startling revelation, but Wang betrayed no emotion when talking about it.
“I didn’t feel anything in particular,” he said. “I felt it was all right, like I had two fathers.”
If anything, Wang said, he became even more serious about succeeding as a pitcher.
“I felt I had to work even harder in order to help two sets of parents,” he said, adding later, “Most of my money I send home to let my parents manage. The rest I use for living expenses in America.”
In the off-season, Wang and his wife, Chia-Ling, live with the parents who raised him. He loves his mother’s cooking, he said, but the overriding reason is cultural.
His parents, who manufactured metal products like spoons and lunch boxes, have been retired for about 10 years. In Taiwan, Wang explained, it is customary for sons to stay at home and take care of their parents. Long after learning his personal background, Wang remains very close with the parents who raised him.
“In Taiwan there’s a saying: ‘Raising a child is more important than giving birth. Raising a child is greater,’ ” Wang said.
還有Wang的專訪原音Audio & Photos: Chien-Ming Wang Interview