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Forbidden 56th Homerun?

Posted September. 25, 2003 23:26,   


Silent for 3 games again. Lee Seung-yeob`s 52nd and 53rd homeruns were hit in the game against Hanhwa on the 10th, and there was no more for 8 straight games. He hit 1 homerun in the last 12 games, and there are only 7 games left in the season.

Records are there to renew, but the Asian homerun record (55) set up by Japanese baseball hero Oh Sadaharu (Wang Jeong-chi, present Daie Hawks manager) in 1964 seems too tough. Is there any evil spirit that tries to hinder breaking the record?

Nobody doubted `Lion King` Lee Seung-yeob (27, Samsung) setting up a new homerun record only early this month. Only time seemed to matter. However, he cannot be confident any more. The pitchers are not evading visibly, but their diversion made Lee nervous.

There were many challengers making efforts to break the record in Japan, as well.

Randy Bars (Hanshin), the first generation of foreign players in 1985 took part in the competition. However, the excellent hitter became a scapegoat of a filthy game that walked him for all his times in the last 2 games at bat after he hit 54 homeruns.

Turpy Rose (Kintetsu) in 2001, Alex Cabrera (Seibu) last year hit 55 homeruns respectively tying the record. Rose hit his 55th after 7 games from his 54th, and never saw a ball in strike zone in the remaining 5 games. He only faced a pitcher who would play directly, Gu Dae-seong (Orix), to grab a chance but failed to set up the new record. Cabrera also hit his 55th with 5 games remaining, but that was all.

Lee Seoung-yeob is no exception. He hit 48 homeruns in 106 games in 1999, expecting up to 60 homeruns, but ended up slamming 54 without a single homerun in 12 games. He was also expected to hit over 70 homers in June, and 60 on 10th this month, but the number went down to 57 now.

`Black Angel of Oh` that may well be comparable to Boston Redsox `Bambino`s Curse` that failed to achieve championship for 85 years since 1918 after sending Babe Ruth. It is questioned if Lee would be able to overcome the burden and accomplish the task successfully.

Hwan-Soo Zang zangpabo@donga.com