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Jo In-sung, the Actor, Couldn’t Do Better

Posted July. 06, 2004 22:21,   


LG Twins catcher and “lady of the house” Jo In-seong (29). His nickname is “shoots while he squats.”

The moniker derives from the fact that his unusually strong shoulder allows him to throw the baseball from home to second base without getting up from his position behind the plate. The internet fan café dedicated to Jo, which boasts over 1,200 members, is also named “shoots while he squats.”

Jo, whose shoulder of steel seared his name into fans’ memory, was voted the “king star” in the festival of stars for the first time in his life.

In the “Best 10” poll for the upcoming 2004 All-Star Game, unveiled on July 6, Jo garnered 184,225 out of 445,832 votes, or 41.3 percent of the total, to snag the no. 1 spot. In second place by a margin of 597 votes is Kim Dong-ju of the Doosan Bears (183,628 votes).

Jo received the good news early that morning in a state of half-sleep from one of his teammates. “I’m a bit stunned. Frankly, I was hoping for the no. 1 spot in the catcher category, but I never expected to be in first place overall,” said Jo, overjoyed.

Jo played in 74 games this season. When asked what he considered to be the reason for his popularity, he replied, “Since I was out there playing every single game, the fans have been quite lenient toward me. I think it’s because I worked hard and did my best despite the difficulties I faced.”

Jo is the sixth catcher to win the no. 1 spot since Lee Man-su (Samsung) in 1984, and the first in nine years since Kim Dong-su (LG) in 1995. Jo currently has a batting average of .249, with five homeruns, 26 runs, and 22 RBIs.

Jeong Su-geun (Lotte), who held on to first place for six weeks while voting was in progress, fell all the way to fourth place in the end, with 180,839 votes.

In the highly competitive Team East shortstop category, Kim Min-jae of the SK Wyverns beat Doosan’s Sohn Si-heon by 7,887 votes for a total of 140,628 to win a spot on the All-Star starting lineup for the first time in his 14-year professional career. Along with Kim, Park Myeong-hwan of the Doosan Bears, and Lee Ho-jun and Lee Jin-yeong of the SK Wyverns also became initiates into the All-Star “Best 10” circle.

Playing first baseman for Team West will be Yang Jun-hyeok of the Samsung Lions, who has made the All-Star lineup for eight consecutive years since 1997. The voting took place from May 11 through July 4, at various ball parks, on the internet, and through mobile phones.

The 2004 All-Star Game will be held on July 17, at the Sajik Baseball Stadium in Busan.

Jong-Seok Kim kjs0123@donga.com