Eagles legend Kim Tae-kyun announces his retirement
Hanwha Eagles’ slugger Kim Tae-kyun has decided to retire.
The Eagles announced Wednesday that one-club veteran Kim has decided to retire to create more opportunities for younger players. The Eagles said Kim only recently told the club about his intention to retire.
“Taking in his opinion of wanting to repay the love he received from the fans, we are expected to appoint him as a special assistant,” said the Eagles. “Starting next season, Kim Tae-kyun will fulfill his role as the general manager’s assistant advisor and will participate in the team’s analysis meeting and training overseas.”
Kim also said through the Eagles that he decided to retire so he could provide an environment where the younger players can further develop.
“Within our team, there are great players who are developing to become the ones to lead the Eagles’ future,” Kim said. “I received a lot of love from the fans and the club but I am a little disappointed about the fact that I wasn’t able to repay them all. But thinking about our team’s future, I thought it was about time for me to step aside.”
Having joined the Eagles in 2001, Kim has played exclusively for the club for every single season except 2010 and 2011, when he was playing outside of Korea. In his rookie season, Kim won the KBO’s Rookie of the Year award and has won the Golden Glove Award three times throughout his career in the KBO — in 2005, 2008 and 2016.
Kim headed to Japan after the 2009 season and played for the Chiba Lotte Marines in 2010 and 2011. During his two seasons with the Marines, he had a .265 batting average with 22 home runs and 106 RBIs. Once he returned, Kim continued his career in the KBO with the Eagles.
Kim has also appeared for the Korean national baseball team.
Although Kim hasn’t been playing his best this season, he’s had quite a career. Throughout his 18 seasons in the KBO, Kim has played in 2,014 games as of Wednesday.
He is ranked third in career hits at 2,209, second in on-base percentage at .421, fifth in career batting average at .320 and 11th in career home runs at 311.
As the 2001 Rookie of the Year, Kim is one of the last active players left from the late 1990s and early 2000s, a golden era for the Eagles when the club's high slugging percentage earned them the nickname "Dynamite Bats."
“Due to the limited number of fans accepted into the stadium from Covid-19, we decided to hold Kim Tae-kyun’s retirement ceremony next season,” the Eagles said. “As it is a franchise star’s retirement, we’ll be thinking about ways to give him the most respectful treatment in his retirement.”
BY BAE YOUNG-EUN, KANG YOO-RIM [firstname.lastname@example.org]