Former MLB pitcher Park Chan-ho says he will retire

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Former MLB pitcher Park Chan-ho says he will retire

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Former Major League Baseball All-Star pitcher Park Chan-ho, the first Korean to play in the majors, yesterday announced his retirement from baseball, an official at his club said.

“Park Chan-ho delivered a letter to the club this afternoon stating his intention to retire,” said the Hanwha Eagles official, adding that the club decided to “respect the decision.”

The 39-year-old Park, who signed a one-year deal with the Eagles last December, will hold a press conference at the Westin Chosun Hotel in Seoul at 11 a.m. today, according to the official.

While Park helped pack stadiums this year, his performances were mediocre at best. Park won his very first start in April but ended the year with a 5-10 record and a 5.06 ERA, as the Eagles ended in last place.

Signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1994, Park was the first Korean to play in the majors. The 2001 Major League All-Star won 124 games, the most ever by an Asian pitcher in the majors, and put up a 4.36 ERA.

He recorded 13 wins or more for five straight years through 2001 while he played for the Dodgers.

He also had Major League stints with the Texas Rangers, San Diego Padres and New York Mets.

After ending his 17-year career in the United States, Park moved to the Orix Buffaloes in Japan in 2010.

But his career with the Buffaloes in Japan barely lasted a season. Oft-injured Park only pitched in seven games, and none after June, going 1-5 with a 4.29 ERA.

He appeared undecided about his retirement when he came back on Sunday from a trip to the United States.

By Yonhap, Moon Gwang-lip [joe@joongang.co.kr]

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