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``Good Bye Ripken`` Chan-Ho Presented Homerun

Posted July. 11, 2001 20:20,   


It was a day for the `Iron Man` Cal Ripken Jr. (41. Baltimore Orioles). And there was the `Korean express` Park Chan-Ho (28. LA Dodgers) behind him.

At the 72th Major League All-Star Game held at the Safeco Field in Seattle yesterday, Park Chan-Ho, who pitched from the third inning following the starting pitcher for the National League Randy Johnson (Arizona Diamondbacks), left two historic marks.

The first mark was that for the first time in the baseball history, he, as a Korean, played at the `field of dream`, the Major League All-Star Game. The other vestige is that ironically enough, he was the very pitcher who allowed the game-winning homerun to the `living legend`, Cal Ripken Jr. at his last all-star game making him the MVP of the day.

When Park Chan-Ho went up to the mound at the third inning, the first batter he faced was the superstar. When Cal Ripken Jr. appeared on the batters box, about 40,000 baseball fans gathered at the Safeco Field showed their respect to the veteran player with a standing ovation. Even before the resonance of the standing ovation went away, Cal Ripken Jr. hammered Park Chan-Ho’s first pitch. And the ball was embedded into the left stand. It was a solo homerun.

Although Park Chan-Ho seemed perplexed, it did not look like he was upset. Maybe, the encounter itself against such a great hitter like Cal Ripken Jr. at the big stage, All-Star game, could be an honor for him.

Park Chan-Ho, who immediately had regained his calmness, got both Ivan Rodriguez (Texas Rangers), the best catcher in the Major League, and the leadoff hitter Suzuki Ichiro with grounders to the second base. And by striking out the `252 million dollars man` Alex Rodriguez, Chan-Ho completed his assigned one inning duty. Although Chan-Ho, who gave one run when the score was 0 ~ 0, became the defeated pitcher since the National League eventually lost and the record did not have much meaning.

At the game, extending their winning streak to 5 games, the American League beat the National League 4 ~ 1 with a long-ball hit by Cal Ripken Jr. and the back-to-back homeruns hit by New York Yankees’ Derek Jeter and Magglio Ordonez (Chicago Whitesox) at the 5th inning. The National League is still maintaining the lead in overall result with a record of 40 (wins)-1 (tied)-31 (lost).

Cal Ripken Jr., who hit the game-winning homerun at the third inning, was selected as the MVP of the game, his second MVP, with a record of 2 at-bats, 1 hit, and 1 RBI.

If the hero of the day was Cal Ripken Jr., the supporting actor was Park Chan-Ho.

Kim Sang-Soo ssoo@donga.com