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Annual Salary King Lee Jong-Bum Signs 430 Million Won Contract

Annual Salary King Lee Jong-Bum Signs 430 Million Won Contract

Posted February. 03, 2002 01:48,   


"I didn`t think I was competing with Seung-Yeob. I did my best to revive the shrinking Korean professional baseball league and start a boom for the foundation of Kia by enduring the pain. A professional player is proved by his skill, and demands an adequate compensation." (Lee Jong-Bum)

"Senior Lee Jong-Bum deserves the highest annual salary. But the highest annual salary does not mean the best treatment. A real professional, I think, should be proved not by his annual salary but by his skill."(Lee Seung-Yeob)

Although they both avoided the each other, it seemed like the senior player was dismayed, and the junior player felt regret. Two pillars of Korean professional baseball, Lee Jong-Bum (32, Kia) `Baseball Genius` and Lee Seung-Yeob (26,Samsung) `Lion King` signed annual salary contracts at the same time on the 1st.

The competition ended with the victory of Lee Jong-Bum. Coming back to Korean ground in July last year, he contracted at 350 million won, the highest annual salary in Korea then, but he just earned 140 million won for 4 months` salary. While he was training at the field training camp in Hawaii, Lee Jong-Bum signed at 430 million won which rose by 22.9 percent. Meanwhile, Lee Seung-Yeob at Arizona Phoenix signed at 410 million won, which is 20 million won less than that of Lee Jong-Bum though it was increased by 36.7 percent from 300 million won of last year.

Hence, Lee Jong-Bum finally stood as the `annual salary king` in the history of domestic professional sports as is worthy of his reputation. Lee Jong-Bum opened the way for the era of high annual salaries by receiving an annual salary that is △ 36 times more than his first annual salary 12 million won in 1993, △ 18 times more than Park Chul-Soon`s 24 million won, which was the highest salary in 1982 when professional baseball game first started, △ 4 times more that that of Sun Dong-Ryol, who earned over 100 million won(150 million won) for the first time in Korea in 1991.

Jung Jae-Gong, manager of Kia Tigers, expressed his impression of the contract saying, "The highest salary was already expected as nation-wide star Lee Jong-Bum provided a new boom for Korean professional baseball, and coining the new phrase `Lee Jong-Bum Synergy, ` and what mattered was the maximum amount of the salary."

Hwan-Soo Zang zangpabo@donga.com