Veterans looking toward one for the books
Several veteran players will attempt to reach career milestones in the upcoming Korea Baseball Organization season.
The LG Twins’ Ryu Taek-hyun is five games away from his 800th appearance and merely 19 games away from breaking the all-time record of 813 appearances set by Cho Woong-chun. Ryu’s teammate Park Myung-hwan makes his return from an injury to challenge for his 100th career win. Since notching his 98th win during the 2007 season, Park has struggled with injuries and has yet to add to his career tally, but he should be able to reach the plateau in the upcoming season.
LG’s Lee Dae-hyung is looking to reach 60 stolen bases in four consecutive seasons and 50 stolen bases in three consecutive seasons.
Former Major League and current Hanwha Eagles’ veteran relief pitcher Koo Dae-sung is looking to bypass Kim Yong-soo’s all-time saves record of 227. Koo currently has 214 saves in his career.
The Samsung Lions’ first baseman, Yang Joon-hyuk, will be looking to add another record to his already impressive resume as he attempts to break Kim Min-jae’s record for appearing in the most games at 2,111. Yang has played in 2,071 games in his career and broke the all-time record for most home runs last season.
Samsung closer Oh Seung-hwan is looking to become the third pitcher in the history of the KBO to earn double-digit figures in saves in six consecutive seasons.
SK Wyverns manager Kim Sung-geun wants to reach milestones for 2,200 games and 1,100 wins in the upcoming season. He is currently sitting on 2,101 games and 1,098 wins.
Opening-day records are also at stake tomorrow. Ryu Hyun-jin of the Hanwha Eagles is highly likely to get the start for his team on opening day. If he does, he will have started in four consecutive opening day games for his team, the most among current players.
Former OB Bears (now Doosan) starting pitcher Jang Ho-yeon holds the all-time record with nine consecutive opening day starts between 1983 and 1995.
In the history of the KBO, four teams went with an overseas pitcher on opening day in 2004, 2007 and 2008. With 14 of 16 overseas players pitchers this year, a total of six overseas pitchers will get the start tomorrow.
Towering home runs are always an exciting part of the game and current Hanwha manager Han Dae-hwa holds the most home runs in opening day games, with seven.
The Nexen Heroes’ Lee Soong-yong has the most among active players, with four home runs in opening day games.
The Doosan Bears and Lotte Giants will also attempt to earn their fifth consecutive opening day wins. The Samsung Lions (1990-94, 2001-05) and the OB Bears (1983-88, tie in 1987) hold the record.
By Oh Myeong-chul [firstname.lastname@example.org]