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All the `Home Run Kings` are Left-handed

Posted September. 15, 2003 23:19,   


There is something special about him. It is his ability to slam a home run. It is his competitiveness that distinguishes him from other players.

He is the `national hitter` Lee Seung-yup(27·Samsung Lions). Ahead of him are Japanese pro-baseball player Oh Sadaharu (63 ·current couch for Daiei Hawks) and Barry Bonds of Major League (39·SanFransisco Giants).

All three of them hold the best records of home runs for a season in their national leagues. Also they are all left-handed hitters.

Lee and Oh are particularly similar. They turned into a hitter from a pitcher in their first year in the pro game. Also both of them mounted to be the king of home run in their national leagues in 5 years of joining the team.

Another common factor is that they both employ a `single leg batting technique.` Oh Sadaharu learned the single leg batting technique in his third year and he started to extend a long hit from his fifth year. Lee Seung-yup also changed to the single leg batting technique taking the advice from his former couch Baek In-chon, and since then his batting range increased.

Both of them are not fast runners. In 22 years as a pro-baseball player, Oh Sadaharu succeeded in only 84 base stealing and Lee Seung-yup succeeded in just 35 in 9 years from 95 to this year.

Compared to this, Bonds is equipped with both fast run and long hit, just like his father Bobby Bonds (recently passed away), who had opened the era of a `good hit, swift runner` in Major League. He joined the `40(home run)-40(base-stealing) club` in 1996, and he is the first player in the history to join the `500(home run)-500(base-stealing) club`.

If we look at batting styles of the three players, unlike Lee Seung-yup who hits home run evenly through a push and a pull, Oh Sadaharu and Bonds are `pull hitters` who completely make pulls that they even cause a shift (fielding shift) among catchers in the infield.

The individual sums of home runs are as for Oh Sadaharu, who has already retired, it is the world`s best record marking 868 in 22 years, and for Lee Seung-yup, who is still playing, it is 321(36 per season) in 9 years, and for Bonds, it is 654 (36 per season) in 18 years.

Number of home runs per a match is 0.31 for Oh Sadaharu , which surpasses the records by Lee Seung-yup (0.29개) and Bonds (0.26). However, when we compare the number of home runs hit until the ninth year as a pro-player, Lee Seung-yup marked 321 up to this year, excelling Oh Sadaharu (307) and Bonds (259).

With his recent number 53 home run for the season, Lee Seung-yup is very close to setting a new Asian record exceeding 55 homeruns recorded by Oh Sadaharu in 1964. We have to give the thunderous round of applause to all of them, setting aside the question on `who is the best slugger out of the three`.

Sang-Soo Kim ssoo@donga.com