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Choi Hee-seop is First Korean hitter to Reach MLB Playoffs

Choi Hee-seop is First Korean hitter to Reach MLB Playoffs

Posted October. 06, 2004 22:00,   


Choi Hee-seop of the Los Angeles Dodgers has received an invitation to Major League Baseball’s legend of the fall.

In Game One of the National League Divisional Series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on October 6, Choi was inserted as a pinch hitter. This is the first time that a Korean has participated in an MLB playoff game as a batter. Pitcher Kim Byung-hyun had played in the postseason with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Boston Red Sox in 2001 until last year, but Choi is the first hitter to accomplish this feat.

Choi had a chance to play in the playoffs last season, when his former team, the Chicago Cubs, moved on to the post season. However, Choi was excluded from the post-season roster, and had to sit on the bench and root for his teammates. On Wednesday, with the Dodgers trailing 2-7 in the top of seventh, Choi went to bat for pitcher Mike Venafro, but he grounded out.

The Cardinals, with their powerful lineup, had five homeruns to beat the Dodgers 8-3. They tied the post season record for most home runs in a game. Larry Walker homered twice, and Albert Pujols, Jim Edmonds, and Mike Matheny each recorded one home run.

Meanwhile, in the American League, the long-time rivals New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox faced different fates.

The Yankees seemed lethargic. They hit into a postseason record of five double plays, and was blanked by the Minnesota Twins, 2-0. The Yankees have lost to the Twins for two consecutive years in Game One of the division series.

One of strong contenders for the Cy Young Award this year, Twins’ starting pitcher Johan Santana, fanned five and blanked the Yankees over seven innings. Santana allowed eight hits, but was helped by strong defensive performances by his teammates. Since the All-Star break, Santana has not lost a game, and is 13-0 with 1.18 ERA.

On the other hand, the Red Sox, eager to break the Curse of Bambino, beat the Anaheim Angels 9-3. Red Sox ace Curt Schilling allowed three runs (two earned) over nearly seven innings. Schilling has a lifetime postseason record of 5-1 and 1.66 ERA. He has a record of 3-0 and 1.13 ERA in division series play.

Leading 1-0 in the top of fourth, Boston scored seven runs, including Kevin Millar’s two-run homer, and Manny Ramirez’s three-run homerun. Vladimir Guerrero could not help the Angels and was 0-5.

Jong-Seok Kim kjs0123@donga.com