Walk-off play followed by career-ending DUI for ParkThe oldest active player in Korean baseball abruptly announced his retirement on Monday, hours after getting caught driving under the influence of alcohol.
Park Han-yi of the Samsung Lions in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) said he wanted to hold himself accountable for a DUI accident that occurred in Daegu around 9 a.m. Monday.
Park was on his way home after dropping off his daughter at school when he got into a fender bender. Police arrived at the scene and gave Park a breathalyzer test. His blood alcohol level was 0.065 percent, well over the legal limit of 0.03 percent and high enough to have his license suspended.
In a statement through the Lions, Park said that following a Sunday afternoon game in Daegu, he attended his daughter’s ice hockey game and shared a late dinner and a few drinks with friends afterward.
“I’ve decided to retire because DUI cases can never be condoned under any circumstances. I have no excuse,” Park said. “I will humbly accept whatever punishments I receive. I apologize to all the fans and to the ball club.”
The unexpected decision brought an unceremonious end to the career of one of the KBO’s most consistent players ever.
At 40, Park opened the 2019 season as the oldest player in the KBO. He has spent his entire 19-year career with the Lions and won seven championships with them. He was the Korean Series MVP in 2013, when he batted .292 with six RBIs, six runs scored and two steals in a seven-game victory over the Doosan Bears.
In what ended up being the final game of his career Sunday, Park delivered a pinch-hit, game-winning hit with two outs at the bottom of the ninth, lifting the Lions to a 4-3 victory over the Kiwoom Heroes.
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