[일요신문] All of the KBO ’40 Legends’ selected to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the establishment of professional baseball were released. The KBO announced 4 legends every week for 10 weeks from the All-Star Game on July 16th to the 19th. Among the 177 candidates recommended by the selection committee, the players who made the top 40 by combining the results of expert votes (80%) and fan votes (20%) enjoyed being included in this list.
Seon Dong-yeol and Choi Dong-won, immortal one-two punch
The first to 4th place legends revealed are Dong-yeol Seon of ‘National Treasure’, Dong-won Choi of ‘Iron Arm’, Jong-beom Lee of ‘Son of the Wind’, and Seung-yeop Lee of ‘The Lion King’. Seon Dong-yeol received 155 votes (79.49 points) out of 156 expert votes and 631,489 votes (11.56 points) out of 1,092,432 fan votes, taking the top spot with a total score of 91.05.
Seon Dong-yeol is considered the best pitcher in KBO league history. After joining the Haitai (now KIA) Tigers in 1985, he recorded 146 wins, 40 losses, 132 saves, a 1.20 ERA, and strikeouts 1,698 in 367 games until 1995. He had an earned run average of five out of 11 seasons (1986, 1987, 1992, 1993, 1995) or an ERA, and took the ERA title eight times, including seven straight years (1985-1991). In particular, 0.78 recorded in 1993 remains the lowest ever recorded in a season.
Seon Dong-yeol made 33 saves (0.49 ERA) while playing as a closing pitcher in 1995, and then entered Japanese professional baseball (Chunichi Dragons) as a loan player. He retired in 1999 after he made a name for himself as a top finisher even in Japan.
Choi Dong-won was the only one to get votes from all 156 people (80.00 points) in the expert vote. In the fan voting, he also secured 545,431 votes (9.99 points), ranking second with a total score of 89.99. Choi Dong-won was a ‘cheol-wan’ who pitched 284 and 2/3 innings in 51 games in 1984 and recorded 27 wins, 13 losses, 6 saves, a 2.40 ERA, and 223 strikeouts. Above all, he won the Korean Series alone four times that year, giving the Lotte Giants their first championship win. It is a symbol of the ‘fighting spirit’ who threw himself on the mound for victory with the team.
Jong-beom Lee received 149 votes (76.41 points) in the expert vote and 590,140 votes (10.90 points) in the fan vote, placing his name in third place with a total score of 87.31. Debuting in Haitai in 1993, he showed off his genius baseball sense in both ball, water and state, and became the best professional baseball star at once. Especially in 1994, he had a phenomenal batting average of 0.393, 196 hits, 113 runs and 84 stolen bases. 84 stolen bases in a season is considered an immortal record that no one will break in the future.
Seung-yeop Lee received a total score of 86.55, trailing behind Jong-beom Lee by a narrow margin. It won the support of 149 people (76.41 points) in the expert vote and 553,741 people (10.14 points) in the fan vote. Seung-Yup Lee largely swept the history of his KBO League home run after debuting for the Samsung Lions in 1997. He set the record for most home runs in a season (56) in 2003, and set the 400-home run milestone for the first time ever in 2015. His career home runs were 464. Even after playing in Japan for 8 years (2004-2011), there was no home run hitter who could catch up to Lee Seung-yeop. The presence of the ‘National Team No. 4 hitter’ who hit a decisive home run or a timely hit in international competitions is also unique.
#From Jinwoo Song, the ‘only 200 wins’ to Jonghoon Jang, the ‘first 40 home run’
Following them, Jin-woo Song of ‘Peregrine Falcon’, Hyo-jo Jang of ‘Master of Striking’, Jun-hyeok Yang of ‘Man of Record’, Dae-seong Koo of ‘Undefeated’, Kang-cheol Lee of ‘Iron Man’, and Jong-hoon Jang of ‘Home Run King’ ranked 5th to 10th.
Song Jin-woo is the most win-win pitcher in KBO league history and the only pitcher with 200 wins. He holds the record for most innings (3003 innings) and most strikeouts (2048), as well as his career wins. He was a symbol of ‘self-management’, boasting the league’s top-level skills until over forty, who played for only one team for the Hanwha Eagles and achieved 200 wins, 3,000 innings, and 2,000 strikeouts.
Hyo-jo Jang kept the record of batting average in the KBO league history (0.331) until last year, with his undisputed batting ability. It is said that the referees at the time said, “If Hyo-jo Jang doesn’t hit, it’s a ball.” This year, as Lee Jung-hoo (Kiwoom Heroes) met the entry criteria for career batting average (3,000 at-bats) and ascended to the new No. Sadly, Hyo-jo Jang passed away in September 2011 of liver cancer.
Yang Jun-hyeok, the epitome of sprinting, is the first player in KBO league history to reach the 2000-hit mark. He received a lot of love from his hometown team Samsung fans, and was nicknamed ‘Yangshin’ in Daegu. At the time of his retirement at the end of the 2010 season, he also boasted of the splendor of holding the record for most hits, home runs, RBIs, runs, routes, and four balls. Now, Lee Seung-yeop (home run, RBI, runs, runs, rutas) and Park Yong-taek (hit) have surpassed most of those records, but the record for the most four balls in a career (1,380) is unlikely to be broken for a while.
Koo Dae-sung was a star player who showed off his overwhelming skills in both starting and finishing. In particular, in 1996, with an amazing record of 18 wins, 3 losses and an ERA of 1.88 with 24 saves, he won the multiple wins, saves and ERA titles, and became the MVP of the regular season. The 1999 Korean Series MVP, the first and last time Hanwha won the championship, was also Koo Dae-sung. During his time with the national team, he was famous as a ‘Japanese killer’, and he experienced both Japanese professional baseball (Orix Blue Wave) and major league (New York Mets) during his active career. After retiring from the KBO league, he moved to Australia and continued his career as a player, becoming the first player to experience all four leagues in Korea, the United States, Japan and Australia.
Lee Kang-cheol is the best submarine pitcher in KBO league history. Starting with 15 wins in 1989 when he made his debut in Haitai, he achieved double-digit victories for 10 consecutive years through 1998. It is the longest unbroken record in history. He was named MVP in the 1995 Korean Series with two wins (one shutout) and a 0.56 ERA on one save. He is also the only active professional baseball manager among the 40 legends. He wrote a new history for the club by taking over as the KT Wiz commander in 2019 and leading the first postseason in the following year and the first integrated championship in last year.
Jang Jong-hoon, the originator of ‘Trainee Shinhwa’, is the first KBO league hitter to hit 40 home runs in a single season. After joining Binggrae (now Hanwha) as a trainee in 1986, he dominated the league with a home run. At that time, the Korean version of the Japanese baseball cartoon was titled ‘4th batter Wang Jong-hoon’. He won the home run and RBI title for three consecutive years since 1990, and this record was also the first in the league. Jang Jong-hoon is still the only player who took the home run title while playing shortstop. He had a splendid heyday when he was named MVP of the regular season in 1991 and 1992.
#12 infielders were selected
Among the 40 legends, 15 pitchers are the most. A total of five people made it into the top 10, including Dong-Yeol Seon and Dong-Won Choi, who received the most votes from 1st and 2nd place. In addition, Cheol-soon Park (11th), the hero of the OB (now Doosan) Bears, who left a record of 22 consecutive victories in a single season, Min-cheol Jung (13th), the ace of the Eagles’ dark times and the most wins in the history of the right-handed pitcher (13th), established the concept and value of a finishing pitcher in the KBO League. ‘Old Song’ Kim Yong-soo (16th), the ace of the Hyundai Unicorns dynasty and the only postseason 10 win pitcher Jung Min-tae (18th), the first 100-win pitcher Kim Si-jin (20th), and Kim Yong-soo have a career 100-200 saves. Im Chang-yong (21st), who achieved the achievement Chang-yong Lim (21st), Jo Gye-hyeon (26th), the ‘fighting chicken’ of the Haitai Dynasty, Sang-hoon “Wild Horse” Lee (27th), considered the best left-handed pitcher in LG Twins history (27th), Dustin Nippert (33rd), the most foreign wins pitcher in the KBO League Bae Young-soo (35th), the ‘blue-blooded ace’ who symbolized Samsung’s fighting spirit in the mid-2000s, was included.
12 infield legends were selected. Kim Tae-gyun (14th), a batting ‘handsome man’ who left a record on base for 86 consecutive games, Kim Seong-han (25th), a founding member of the Tigers and a central hitter of the Tigers dynasty (25th), a ‘solver’ of the Haitai dynasty and one of the best third baseman ever Daehwa Han (28th), who is considered one of the most famous players, Dong-ju Kim (29th), the ‘boss bear’ who commanded an era as the 4th hitter in the national team, Jae-bak Kim (31st), a shortstop who played a role in the ‘Fox of the Ground’, symbolizes Lotte’s tenacity Park Jeong-tae (32nd), the best second baseman of all time (38th), the best second baseman ever (38th), Park Jin-man (39th), the national shortstop who doesn’t need much, and all-time players who use Jamsil Baseball Stadium as their home Tyrone Woods (No. 40), the ‘black bear’ who broke 40 home runs for the first time.
Eight outfielders also compete. Park Yong-taek (15th), the ’19 LG Man’ who left the record for most hits (2504) in the KBO league, Park Jae-hong (17th), a symbol of a ‘5-tool player’ who opened a 30 home run-30 stolen base club in the KBO League (17th), LG Byung-gyu “Red Tomah” Lee (19th), the best hitter in history, Baek In-cheon (24th), who left a milestone in batting average of 40,000 in the first year of professional baseball (24th); Jeon Jun-ho (34th), a ‘legendary master swordsman’ shining with 549 stolen bases, and Lee Soon-cheol (37th), a pronoun of the Hota Jun tribe, were selected.
Among the only three designated hitters, Yang Jun-hyuk, who was ranked 7th, Kim Ki-tae, the ‘boss of the ground’, the originator of left-handed mid-range guns (22nd), and Hong Seong-heon (36th), the most awarded in the Golden Gloves designated hitter category (4th, 2008-2011) this was included There are two catchers in 40. Lee “Hulk” Man-su (12th), who led the Samsung battalion in the early days, and Park Kyung-wan (23rd), the eternal host of Incheon Baseball. Both are from the ‘catcher’s home run king’, and in particular, Park Kyung-wan was the only catcher to hit the 40-home run mark.
#17 One Club Man, 15 Permanent Retirement
Five stars were included in the first year of professional baseball. Chul-Soon Park, Man-Soo Lee, Baek In-Chun, Seong-Han Kim, and Jae-Pak Kim. Chul-soon Park led the first OB championship by winning 24 in the first year of professional baseball, and Seong-han Kim set a record of 10 wins and 10 home runs while also playing a double due to the club’s lack of players in the first year of its foundation. Kim Jae-bak, the beginning of the KBO League’s famous shortstop lineage, was a member who led the team to the 1982 World Baseball Championship in Seoul with Kim Si-jin and Han Dae-hwa. Kim Jae-bak’s exquisite ‘frog bunt’, who made a tie at the end of the 8th inning in the final against Japan, is still mentioned as one of the representative scenes in Korean baseball history. Han Dae-hwa, who was at the plate following Kim Jae-bak at the time, hit a three-run home run in the reverse final and became the leading player in the championship. It was then that the nickname ‘the man with three-run homers’ was born. Daehwa Han and Sijin Kim started their professional careers in 1983 after finishing the World Baseball Championship, leading the popularity of the KBO League in the early days.
Of the 40 players, a total of 17 players have never changed teams in the domestic league. Among them, five (Song Jin-woo, Koo Dae-seong, Jang Jong-hoon, Jeong Min-cheol, and Kim Tae-gyun) from Hanwha have the most. In addition to Koo Dae-seong, who played in four leagues, Jung Min-cheol (Yomiuri Giants) and Kim Tae-kyun (Chiva Lotte Marines) returned after two years of experience in Japanese professional baseball, but all three players wore only Hanwha uniforms in the KBO League.
LG, Doosan, and KIA each produced three ‘One Club Man’ legends. LG is Kim Yong-su, Lee Byung-gyu, and Park Yong-taek, Doosan is Park Cheol-soon, Kim Dong-ju, and Woods, and KIA is Seon Dong-yeol, Lee Jong-beom, and Kim Seong-han. Two people from Samsung (Mansu Lee and Seungyeop Lee) were from Samsung and one from Lotte (Jungtae Park) followed. Among them, Lee Byung-gyu, Seon Dong-yeol, and Lee Jong-beom all have one thing in common: they all played for Japan Chunichi in addition to their own KBO League team.
Among the 16 players who were permanently absent from the KBO League, 15 were selected as 40 legends except for OB Kim Young-shin. Kim Young-shin, the first player to be permanently absent from the league (No. 54), was a member of the Los Angeles Olympic national team in 1984 and joined the OB team the following year, but was found drowned in the Han River in 1986 after not seeing much light. In order to mourn Kim Young-shin, OB has permanently removed his jersey number.
The other 15 players were honored with permanent retirement based on their achievements and contributions during active service. The selection of 40 legends is natural. Dong-Yeol Seon (No. 18), Yong-Soo Kim (No. 41), Man-Soo Lee (No. 22), Cheol-Soon Park (No. 21), Dong-Won Choi (No. 11), Jong-Hoon Jang (No. 35), Min-Chul Jeong (No. 23), Jin-Woo Song (No. 21), Jong-Beom Lee (No. 7), Yang Jun-hyeok (10 times), Park Kyung-wan (26 times), Lee Byung-gyu (9 times), Lee Seung-yeop (36 times), Kim Tae-gyun (52 times), and Park Yong-taek (33 times) are the main characters. The only two foreign players are all from Doosan. Nippert (7 years at Doosan, 1 year at KT) and Woods (5 years at Doosan) were named on the 40-man list as a sign of tuta representing numerous foreign players.
Bae Young-eun, reporter for JoongAng Ilbo