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Samsung Lions Lee Seung-hyup Crowned MVP

Posted October. 27, 2003 22:52,   


This year is number five. Lee has received five Most Valuable Player (MVP) trophies in his nine-year career.

After going to the stage to receive a gold baseball worth 20 million won from the chairman of the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), Mr. Park Yong-oh, Lee accepted the prize and gave a big wave to the crowd. Lee was also captured with numerous flashes as he gave a big smile after watching his wife, Lee Song-joung (age 21), come up to the stage to greet him. Lee and his wife are famous for being extremely in love with each other. Lee, being the youngest hitter ever to hit over 300 home runs, stated after his 300th home run, “Up to number 300, it was all for my parents. From 300 and on, it will all be for my wife.”

It was obvious Lee would receive the MVP Award for hitting 56 home runs this season, setting the new Asian record for most home runs in a single season. The fans would share Lee’s moments of joy after hitting a home run, but they also shared the agony when Lee failed to do so. Lee had become a symbol of hope for those who need it the most.

Before the regular season’s MVP voting ballot, Korea Series MVP, Chung Min-tae, who raced against Lee for the most home runs in a single season, had stated with immense respect for Lee’s work, “Of course Lee deserves it.”

Seven consecutive years hitting over 30 homeruns per season, six consecutive years scoring a three-figure mark for runs, most RBI’s in a single season (144), world’s youngest hitter to hit over 300 homeruns, most homeruns in Asia…Like Japanese players Matsui Hideki (NY Yankees) and Suzuki Ichiro (Seattle Mariners) who conquered their domestic leagues of the Japanese Professional Baseball, it is time for Lee to move on to bigger stages. It is a question whether Korea’s number one hitter will be able to survive in the Major League.

Lee spilled his feelings about receiving the MVP Award by stating, “My goal was to only hit 32 home runs (which would make his record exactly 300 home runs) this season, but I ended up hitting a number I had never imagined. I figure that it is the formula of the best teammates, coaching staff, and associates giving me help that allowed me to accomplish such a record. I will accomplish my dreams next year in a new place.”

Lee is expected to apply for free agent (FA) status in four days. After a one-week period of revision, Lee will be able to formally have talks with Major League baseball clubs after November 9. Lee gave a positive outlook in being drafted to the Major League by stating, “I expect that I will accomplish a lot in the Major Leagues.”

Sang-Soo Kim ssoo@donga.com