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Park Chan-ho Successfully Finishes Season in Face-off against Ichiro

Park Chan-ho Successfully Finishes Season in Face-off against Ichiro

Posted October. 04, 2004 21:51,   


On April 24, 1999, Fernando Tatis (of the St. Louis Cardinals at the time) hit two grand slams in one inning for the first time in major league history against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

On July 11, 2001, Cal Ripken Jr. (of the Baltimore Orioles) hit a homerun during his last All-star game at Seattle’s Safeco Field, taking home the MVP award.

On October 6, 2001, Barry Bonds (of the San Francisco Giants) hits his 71st and 72nd record-breaking homeruns at San Francisco’s Pacific Bell Park.

These events are all too familiar to Texas Rangers pitcher Park Chan-ho. After all, he was pitching when all of these events happened.

Back in the day, Park was recognized as one of the finest pitchers in the majors, but he also has happened to be the victim of many record-breaking events.

Because of Park’s infamous history, his season finale against the Seattle Mariners and Suzuki Ichiro on October 4 at Safeco Field was a heavy burden indeed. If Park were to allow Ichiro another hit, Ichiro, who has already broken the record for most hits in one season, would make Park the victim of another record-breaking event.

Although Ichiro eked out one hit among his three bats against Park, the hit Ichiro made against Park wasn’t Ichiro’s last record breaker for the season. Also, Park’s outstanding seven-inning, two-hit performance proved that he pitched well.

During his first inning face-off against Ichiro, Park handled him, forcing him to fly out to left. He allowed Ichiro a hit during the third inning, but Park evened the score in the fifth, causing Ichiro to hit a ground ball to second. Fastballs around 145km per hour were thrown during all three face-offs. Ichiro has a poor record against Park and is hitting only .222 with four hits in 18 at-bats against him.

During the eighth inning, Texas Ranger pitcher Brian Shouse was the final host to Ichiro’s record-breaking hit, allowing Ichiro to finish the season with a grand total of 262 hits. Later, Ichiro commented that “it`s something I really can`t think about right now. As time passes, I think I`ll look back and say, `Wow, that was a really great thing that happened.’"

Park Chan-ho finished the season with a pitch velocity that reached 153km per hour (95mph) during this day’s game, and added a win to his 4-7 record while holding his ERA at 5.46. Park, who is now in his third year with the Texas Rangers, has been on the team’s injury list for about half the season and wasn’t able to do much for his team this year.

Park was not the only player to suffer from injuries this year. Kim Byung-hyun of the Boston Red Sox also spent the season in rehab for his regularly occurring injuries. Seo Jae-ung (New York Mets), who started with high hopes this season, finished the season without much action. And Choi Hee-seop (Los Angeles Dodgers), who showed so much hope for success in the future this season with the Florida Marlins, was traded to the Dodgers.

Sang-Soo Kim ssoo@donga.com