Go to contents

Pro Baseball: Chung Min-tae Cuts the Biggest Contract with Hyundai

Pro Baseball: Chung Min-tae Cuts the Biggest Contract with Hyundai

Posted February. 03, 2004 23:04,   


A new era of 700 million won annual salary has dawned in Korea

Chung Min-tae, a 34-year-old ace of the Hyundai Unicorns, has surpassed the salary barrier of 700 million won for the first time as a domestic player. On February 3, he signed a new contract with the franchise for a 740 million annual salary, up 48 percent compared with the previous contract of 500 million won a year.

The amount, surpassing 630 million Lee Seung-yup, currently of the Lotte Marines in Japan, received from Samsung Lions is the largest in Korean professional sports. Basketball player Suh Jang-hoon of the Samsung Thunders earns 400 million won a year. Soccer player Shin Tae-yong of Songnam has a net salary of 290 million won, adjusted by game allowances.

Chung and Hyundai have been at odds as Chung demanded 800 million won while the franchise offered 720 million won. On February 2, Chung entrusted Kim Yong-hui, general manager, with something of a blank check.

Hyundai, after considering Chung’s self dignity, put 720 million won into the paper, 20 million won more than its initial offer.

Since he returned to Korea last year from the Yomiuri Giants of Japan, Chung registered 17 wins and two losses with a 3.16 ERA.

Chung, now the salary champion, said, “In 1994, after surgery in an elbow, I took home 300,000 won a month. Some baseball fans would say my pay is too much. Please understand it as a reward for my 12 years in the pro league.”

With Chung’s contract completed, Sohn Hyuk of the Doosan Bears is the only player without a contract. Sohn, who posted four wins and six losses with a 3.65 ERA last year, has demanded 70 million won, up by five million compared to 65 million won last year, while the franchise wants to freeze his salary. Sohn stays with his wife, a professional golfer, in San Diego, U.S.

Sang-Soo Kim ssoo@donga.com