Baseball is undeniably huge in South Korea, featuring successful players in the Korean Baseball Organization League. Millions of people are cheering for the best teams competing for the title.
The action-packed sport garnered following since 1921 when Major League players competed with the Japanese as part of their Asian tour. Since then, people are looking forward to the tournament and Korea has created its local competition.
Get to know the top 4 best Korea baseball players from different teams. These players are known for their skills in the field playing pitcher, baseman, and infielder. Read on to learn more about them.
Korea Baseball Organization
Prior to the establishment of the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), players from Korea compete in the Intercity Baseball Tournament in Japan. However, through the years, South Korea no longer competes for the tournament is now exclusive to Japan cities.
With KBO League, ten teams compete for the title. These are Doosan Bears, NC Dinos, Kiwoom Heroes, LG Twins, Kia Tigers, SK Wyverns, Hanwha Eagles, Lotte Giants, Samsung Lions, and KT Wiz.
In the KBO history, Lotte Giants set a record for the highest attendance in the sports league. This is during the 2009 season when 1.38 million people gathered to watch the games in the Busan Stadium.
Considered the highest-paid KBO League in South Korea is Lotte Giants’ first baseman Lee Dae-Ho. He was a former baseman for the Seattle Mariners and Fukuoka Softbank Hawks of Nippon Professional Baseball.
Last year, Lee’s salary reached 2.5 billion won or $2.2 million. He was first drafted in 2001 before the four-year contract with a guaranteed salary of 5 billion in signing bonus. His skills in the field helped the team push to the finals before falling behind the reigning champion SK Wyverns.
Lee has batted .320 with 34 homers and 111 RBIs back in 2017. In 2018, he improved with a total of .333 and 125 RBIs.
Kia Tigers’ very own Yang Hyeon-jong is among the best Korea baseball players for his winning runs and hits. He was named KBO Leagues’ MVP back in 2017 for the unbelievably good performance hitting a record of 20 wins and six losses and a 3.44 ERA.
Yang took over the title after earning 656 points out of the 856. He outnumbered SK Wyverns’ baseman Choi Jeong who has total home runs of 46 and 362 points. The Kia Tigers’ Yang is the youngest KBO player to receive the MVP award at the age of 29.
Not only has Yang snatched the MVP for the KBO League but also the Korea Series. He has helped Korea claim its title during the battle against Doosan Bears.
The home run champion for fours year straight, Park Byung-ho joined the Twins following his mastery of pitching in KBO. In 2018, Park hit a total of 43 homers in just a short lead. Last year, he even crushed four home runs in a single game that helped his team with 28 leads.
In 2012, Park has won the KBO League Most Valuable Player Award and the Golden Glove Award for his first base. He formerly played for the LG Twins and Minnesota Twins of Major League before returning to Korea.
Yang Eui-ji is NC Dinos’ talented catcher with batting stats of .307. He played for ten years with Doosan Bears before signing a four-year contract with the NC Dinos for 12.5 billion won. This is the second-highest deal in the KBO League following Lee Dae-Ho’s 15 billion deal with Lotte Giants.
Yang was known for his killer throwing and precise long hit. He was drafted in Gwangju province by the Doosan Bears in 2006 and immediately won the Rookie of the Year Award in 2010. He also won a total of four Golden Gloves from 2014 to 2018.
Baseball is among the most popular sports in South Korea following football and basketball. With renowned baseball players, the sport continues to thrive and garner millions of fans across the country.