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Lee Seung-yup, Breaking the Record with Every Hit

Posted July. 23, 2002 22:21,   


Recently, the term ‘top 4 myth’ is popular since the Korean national football team reached the top 4 in the World Cup. As a matter of fact, the term ‘myth’ cannot be used easily in sports world. It is an honorable term only to be used when a great record is set. However, the ‘Lion King’ Lee Seung-yup (25, Samsung) gets public attention by rewriting the myth in the pro baseball.

Two away from 30 or more homeruns in 6 consecutive years, one away from 250 homeruns in his career and so on. He sets new record with every swing at bat.

How far can he go to write a new myth? He hit 28 homers until the 23rd and co-leading the homerun race, and if he adds 2 more, he will set the great record of 30 or more homeruns in 6 consecutive years. Since he won the homerun king title in 97 with 32 homeruns, he never hit less than 30 a season. This record is not easy to find in the Major League as well as in the Japanese pro league.

Lee Seung-yup will reach the 250 career homeruns for the third time in history if he adds only one more. Now, the ‘record man’ Chang Jong-hoon (33, Hanhwa) leading the career homerun race with 332; however, it is predicted to be broken soon if we consider Lee’s pace. Lee, Sung-Yup records a homerun in 3.84 games (1 in 14 at bats) and shows a much faster pace than Chang Jong-hoon (1 in 5.4 games, 1 in 18 at bats).

We can estimate Lee’s incredible hitting ability by comparing the facts that Chang recorded 250 homeruns in his 13th year in pro but Lee did it in 8 years.

What is more, Lee is challenging to win 7 crowns in batting category for the first time in history. Lee is currently leading 4 categories such as homerun, RBI (79), scoring (67), and slugging percent (0.686). And he is closely trailing in other 3 categories such as 4th in average (0.330), 3rd in on base percent (0.440), and 3rd in most hits (100).

Five-crown winner was the most so far. Lee was the one in 99.

Lee also set new records for scoring 700 points (currently 713 points) by the youngest player and for the shortest time. He was, at that time, 25 years 10 months and 3 days old and playing his 941st games, so he was 2 years 7 months ahead of the previous record by Hong Hyun-woo (28 years 6 months 22 days old) of LG, and shortened the least games record of Yang Jun-hyuk (1042 games) by 101 games. The career scoring record is 981 points by Chang Jong-hoon. But it sure looks to be broken by Lee Seung-yup.

Jong-Koo Yang yjongk@donga.com