Kim knows victory as a player and as a manager
The 48-year-old became the fourth manager in KBO history to win the championship in his first year as manager. Interestingly, Lions manager Ryu Joong-il was the last manager to achieve that record.
But for Kim, the honors keep coming. The former catcher, who played with the Bears from 1990 to 2001, is the first rookie manager in KBO history to lead his club to win the Korean Series after finishing third in the regular season.
He is also first man in the KBO to get the championship title as a player and manager with the same team. Kim was on the winning team in 1995 and 2001.
After retirement, Kim served as coach for the Bears from 2002 to 2011 before moving to the SK Wyverns. But he returned to his hometown club this year and eventually made history.
Q. How do you feel about the victory?
A. I can’t express my emotion in words. I feel so happy. I think I achieved so many things in my first year. Although I’m happy, I also think now I have to prepare more for the future.
You are the first man in the KBO to win the Korean Series title as a player and a manager in a single franchise. How do you feel?
I’m not a guy who thinks about getting records. When I served as a player-coach in 2001 to win the championship, I thought it would be good if I could win the championship again as a manager. Fortunately, it happened.
How do you compare this victory to your first championship in 1995 as a player?
There is great happiness when you win the championship as a player, but I feel that winning the title as a manager is slightly happier than that.
What led your team to win Game 5?
I think Game 4 was the critical point. By winning Friday’s game, I was confident that we could win the series if Yoo Hee-kwan [the starter for Game 5] can hold on the game longer.
What was the biggest challenge in the postseason?
When we lost Game 3 to the NC Dinos in the playoffs by a large score [16-2] at home, I thought, “Maybe this is it. Our players really must be tired.” Even if we lost the first game of the Korean Series, I wasn’t feeling bad. Overall, our players’ concentration and batting were good.
What was your best decision in this postseason?
I think using pitcher Lee Hyun-seung as a closer led to the Korean Series victory. Since Lee performed well, I think that was the reason we won. I always told players to feel comfortable.
But as a manager, I don’t always feel comfortable when entering the game, but I try not to show it. I know when players are feeling tense, they can show it in their plays.
Did you feel any pressure managing this team?
I felt no pressure. I thought if I could show my baseball [style] and the team shows its colors, then I would be evaluated by that.
What do you think the team needs improve?
I think we need to upgrade the details in our plays including our tactics. I found out there is a big difference when we carry out our tactics as we prepared and when we execute tactics impromptu. I will try to make players execute tactics in any situation.
BY Joo Kyung-don [email@example.com]