Lotte slugger awarded All-Star MVPSweat dripped from Jung Soo-keun’s forehead as he hoisted the 2004 Korean All-Star Pro Baseball Game MVP trophy on Saturday.
He was also awarded a check for 10 million won ($8,600) for his efforts in helping the Eastern team to a 7-3 victory over its Western counterparts.
“Thanks to God. I never dreamed I could become MVP,” said the Lotte Giants slugger, who beamed as camera flashes bombarded him.
Korean baseball’s best and brightest gathered at Sajik baseball stadium, Lotte’s home field in Busan, for the 2004 All-Star game over the weekend.
Jung, 27, whose nickname is “squirrel” for his base-stealing abilities, became the biggest star of them all. He was overwhelmingly voted MVP, gathering 54 votes out of a possible 69, beating Yang Jun-hyuk of the Samsung Lions and Park Myung-hwan of the Doosan Bears. He had three hits and two RBIs in five at-bats, and stole a base.
Jung became a free agent at the end of last year and left Doosan to sign with Lotte. When the two teams met on July 6, Jung hit a three-run homer, sparking a Lotte comeback.
He was the lead-off hitter for the Eastern team at the All-Star game, facing starting pitcher Song Jin-woo of the Hanwha Eagles.
In his first at-bat, Jung smashed a double into left field. In the second inning, with two outs and a runner on second, Jung hit another two-bagger to get the runner home.
“I thought the best gift to home fans would be getting a hit and stealing a base,” said Jung. “I felt bad because the team (Lotte) ended the season at the bottom, and we want to do better next season.”
by Choi Jooh-ho, Namkoong Wook