A pitcher named MVP for first time in 8 yearsThe Korean Baseball Organization yesterday named Samsung Lions’ pitcher Bae Young-su, 23, MVP for the 2004 season.
Best new player honors went to Hyundai Unicorns’ pitcher Oh Jae-young, who made an impact this year despite being only 19 years old.
Eighty-four of 99 Korean journalists voted to give Bae MVP honors. He was presented with the award at a ceremony at the Westin Chosun Hotel. Bae finished well ahead of Hyundai Unicorns’ left fielder Cliff Brumbaugh and Kia Tigers’ pitcher Daniel Rios. Bae also received a 24-karat gold trophy in the shape of a baseball.
It was the first time in eight years a pitcher was named MVP. Samsung players have won the honor the past four years running, including three-time winner Lee Seung-yuop, who now plays for the Lotte Chiba Marines in Japan.
Bae had 17 wins this season; the highest winning percentage of 0.895; the third-best ERA of 2.61 and the fourth highest strike-out total with 144.
Bae thanked Samsung’s head coach Sun Dong-yuhl for the honor. Asked about the difference from last season, Bae said, “My pitching improved and I feel more confident.”
Oh won 53 of 99 votes to clinch the best new player honor. Oh’s record of 10 wins and nine losses was bettered by the Samsung Lions’ Kwon Oh-jun. Oh, however, put on a stellar pitching performance to win Game 5 of the Korean Series and that may have tipped the scales in his favor.
by Choi Joon-ho