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This is For My Ill Father

Posted June. 21, 2004 22:23,   


His stare on the mound seemed resolute.

He was determined not to forget his father who has been fighting off an illness for almost a year. Bong dialed the phone right after he clinched his victory he longed for on Fathers Day in the United States.

"Good Son" Bong Jong-keun (24, Cincinnati Reds) delivered happiness in his first victory as a starter to his father, who is struggling with cancer. Bong Jung-keun started for the Reds and threw clean, crisp pitches as he faced 24 batters with no runs in six innings in an away game against the St. Louis Cardinals in Busch stadium on the June 21.

The victory was his first as a starter after pitching four times since his debut, and his 3rd try of the season, as he became the first Korean native lefty to notch a win. Bong has a record of one win and one loss, and his skyrocketing ERA of 7.71 dropped down to 4.70.

Bong, who was pinch hit for in the 7th inning, made an international call to Seoul after the match was over because he was concerned about his father’s (Bong Dong-shik,•62) condition, who went through two operations last week after his last surgery for colon cancer last November. Father Bong barely spoke due to his oxygen inhalator, but stuttered with happiness, saying, " Wasn`t it difficult? I`m proud of you." Bong answered, " Getting better?" as he trembled with emotion. Bong`s mother, Kim Sook-ja (62) shed tears as she commented "My son checks on his father daily, so I hope he gets better."

Bong got off to a good start by handling the first two batters with two strikeouts in the 1st inning and blocked St. Louis`s strong batting lineup with big overhead curve balls and changeups.

Cincinnati`s Ken Griffey Jr. launched his career 500th homerun (20th all-time in MLB history) in the 6th inning with the team leading 5-0 as he took some of the burden off Bong`s shoulders. Cincinnati won 6-0.

Jong-Seok Kim kjs0123@donga.com