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Who’s Average Joe in the Professional Baseball League?

Posted February. 10, 2004 23:14,   


A 25-year-old player of 182 centimeter height and 83 kilogram weight with an annual salary of 70 million won has been playing in the league for six years. This is the average player of the 2004 Korean professional baseball league.

He represents a big change compared to 1982, year one of the Korean pro league, when the average player was 176 centimeters tall, weighed 76 kilometers and earned 12 million won a year. There has been a huge improvement not just in players’ salaries but also in their physiques.

According to an annual player information sheet announced on February 10 by the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), the closest to the average is Song Shin-young, a 27-year-old reliever of the Hyundai Unicorns. He graduated from Joong-ang High School and Korea University and began to play in the league in 1999. With six years as a professional pitcher, he makes 68 million won a year.

Song, who posted five wins and four losses with a 4.63 ERA, is an average player who takes up any trouble as a reliever although he is not the focus of the fan frenzy.

There are a total of 480 players registered in the league, with 83 rookies and 15 foreigners among them. There are 226 pitchers, or about 41.7 percent of the league’s player body, showing that the essential role that pitchers play in the games. Following their heels are 119 infielders, 89 outfielders, and 46 catchers.

Although the league’s average salary is 71.89 million won, the average salary at the Hyundai Unicorns, last year’s champion, is 90.70 million won, bordering on the dream salary of 100 million won.

The Samsung Lions, which has offered the largest salary packages for four years in a row, came in second this year as the highest-paid players, Lee Seung-yeop, currently of Japan’s Lotte Marines and Ma Hae-young, currently of the Kia Tigers, left the franchise. The Lotte Giants, the laggard, posted the smallest salary average with 56 million won a year.

Sang-Soo Kim ssoo@donga.com