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Cho Broke Spirits of Baseball Master

Posted October. 13, 2003 22:46,   


Cho Bum-hyun’s baseball managing has surprised even the “god of baseball.”

Kim Ung-ryong, the manager of Samsung, has praised Kim Sung-kun, the ex-manager of LG, as a “god of baseball.” Even Kim Sung-kun was amazed on October 12 by SK’s winning streak of three straight against Kia in the playoffs, saying that if he had been the manager of SK, he wouldn’t have been able to achieve this feat.

For this same reason, many baseball people have no objection in saying that if SK had selected Sun Dong-ryeol as its manager last year, it probably wouldn’t have obtained such success.

“A manager should study hard”

The core of Cho Bum-hyun’s baseball philosophy is “data baseball” as instructed from his teacher, the ex-manager Kim. This was the key to SK’s victories in the post-season against Samsung and Kia which are regarded as superior to SK in systematic baseball.

Cho chose Chae Byung-ryong as a starting pitcher over Smith who had been expected to play at the first game against Kia in the playoffs. Moreover, he excluded the “hidden card” Kim Young-su, who played as a starting pitcher, from the entry of the first game against Samsung in semi playoffs.

His choice of Lee Jin-young and Kim Ki-tae as the second and third hitters, respectively, at the third game was the essence of this year’s playoffs. Before the game, he said, “Rios, the starting pitcher, absolutely prefers balls pitched close inside to left-handed hitters. I’ll confront him with left-hand hitters who are good at hitting the inside pitches.” This strategy succeeded.

SK recorded a triple play at the game against Samsung and a steal of home plate by Kim Min-jae at the game against Kia, each of which was the first recorded of its type in post-season. These events proved Cho’s exceptional ability to manage.

“Cho Bum-hyun effect” in baseball

Cho is no longer unknown. His every action can make an influence on decisions made by team both directly and indirectly.

Doosan gave up bringing coach Sun as the manager and instead promoted Kim Kyung-mun, who entered university along with Cho in 1978, to the manager position. In the same context, Lotte finished the system with the manager-proxy Kim Yong-chul and selected Yang Sang-mun, an ex-coach of LG. This is the ‘Cho Bum-hyun effect’.

Cho will soon participate in the Korean Series, the dream for Korean baseball players. The opponent is Hyundai’s “Fox” Kim Jae-bak who is regarded as the best active now. The series against Hyundai will be more difficult than the ones against Samsung and Kia.

Cho said, “I’ll be at the game trying to learn,” but his eyes were shining more brightly than ever.

Hwan-Soo Zang zangpabo@donga.com