Park Byung-ho moves up to No. 4 on KBO's career home run ranking
With six home runs over the last five games, KT Wiz slugger Park Byung-ho has moved up to No. 4 on the KBO's career home run ranking.
Park smashed back-to-back homers over the fence at Daegu Samsung Lions Park in Daegu on Thursday, sending his career home run total to 353. The two big flies capped off a five-game home run streak that allowed Park to jump up the KBO career rankings and significantly extend his lead on the season ranking as well.
The KBO all-time home run record is held by retired Samsung Lions infielder Lee Seung-yuop, who hit 464 home runs in his long career with the Samsung Lions. Lee was a prolific slugger, becoming the youngest player in the world to reach 300 career home runs when he was only 26 and once hitting 56 homers in a single season, in 2003.
Following Lee is SSG Landers slugger Choi Jeong, the highest-ranked active player. Choi has 413 career home runs and, at 35, could still have a couple of seasons left in him. Choi is followed by Lotte Giants infielder Lee Dae-ho, who plans to retire this year, with 360.
Park is next, over taking retired Samsung Lions slugger Yang Joon-hyuk, who active in the 1990s and 2000s, on 351.
At 35 years old, Park may never have a chance of catching up with Choi or Lee Seung-yuop. But even if he ends his career in third or even fourth place, a quick glance at the numbers shows that the speed at which Park has achieved his ranking is unlikely to be rivaled for many years to come.
Park reached 353 home runs in just 4,562 at-bats, more than 2,000 fewer than Lee Dae-ho, Choi or Lee Seung-yeop. Looking further down the table, the only other batter in the top 20 with fewer than 5,000 at-bats is Lee Man-soo, who retired 25 years ago. The first active player with fewer at-bats than Park is No. 22 Na Sung-bum, who has had 20 fewer at-bats and 130 fewer home runs.
Park debuted in the KBO in 2005 playing for the LG Twins at the age of 18. In 2011, he moved to the Nexen Heroes, now called the Kiwoom Heroes, where he built a name for himself.
In 2012, Park led the league in slugging percentage, hitting 105 RBIs with 31 home runs. He also won the 2012 KBO MVP and Golden Glove award. In 2013, he hit 117 RBIs with 37 home runs, winning the MVP title and Golden Glove award once again.
Park was the KBO home run leader from 2012 to 2015, blasting more than 50 home runs in the 2014 and 2015 season. He was also a part of the national team which won the 2014 Asian Games gold medal.
Park then spent two seasons abroad, hitting his first Major League home run in 2016 with the Minnesota Twins. However, after a difficult season with the Twins, Park spent the 2017 season in Triple-A.
Park returned to the Heroes in 2018 and played the last four seasons with the club before joining the Wiz on a three-year contract worth 3 billion won ($2.5 million) this year.
He looks set to take another home run crowd this year as he currently leading the league with 26 home runs, 12 more than second-place Kim Hyun-soo of the Twins and Lee Jung-hoo of the Heroes.
BY JIM BULLEY [firstname.lastname@example.org]