Go to contents

Our Catcher is Hotter

Posted October. 11, 2004 23:24,   


The Lions (Samsung) and the Bears (Doosan) will meet in the playoffs.

They last met in the postseason three years ago, at the Korean Series 2001. Doosan, who had finished the pennant race in third place, overcame their relative weaknesses and devastated Samsung’s pitching corps, taking the championship with four wins and two losses. This was Kim Euong-yong’s first Korean Series loss.

The situation is not much different this year. Third-ranked Doosan is the “challenger” while Samsung, who finished the season in second place and is known to be a level higher in terms of power, is the challenged. Doosan’s atmosphere this season is similar to that of 2001, making Samsung uncomfortable facing this team.

Veteran Versus Rookie-

Samsung’s manager Kim Euong-ryong (63), known as “The Elephant,” is a veteran leader who has weathered the storms of life. Doosan’s manager, Kim Gyung-moon (46), is an ambitious rookie. Kim Gyung-moon is not an easy mark, considering the fact that this is his first year as a leader. He has a superb way of motivating his players. Due to his “trusting baseball” policy, player morale is at its highest. Kim Euong-yong’s “winning baseball” policy has proven to be effective in post-season games, but he has lost to Kim In-shik’s (former Doosan manager) “trusting baseball” at the Korean Series 2001.

Jin Kab-yong Versus Hong Sung-heun-

They are the two best offensive catchers in Korean baseball. In particular, Hong Sung-heun, who hit a grand slam in the second semi-playoff match, is on the rise.

Jin Kab-yong and Hong Sung-heun were once on the same team: both were with Doosan in 1999. Hong was a rookie then, and when he was favored to be the team’s main catcher, Jin had requested a trade to another team, opening the way for prime time for himself at Samsung.

Data Versus Data-

Statistics show Samsung to be the stronger team. They have a better slugging percentage, and their bullpen members Kwon Oh-joon, Kwon Hyuk and Lim Chang-yong are more reliable than Doosan’s Chung Sung-hoon, Lee Hae-chun and Koo Ja-un.

However, this season, Doosan is slightly ahead, recording ten wins, one tie and eight losses in games with Samsung, and holding a lead in records of both pitchers and hitters. Kim Gyung-moon said, “Our players are full of confidence whenever they meet Samsung.”

So far, the probability of a team winning the playoffs after two straight wins in the playoff semifinals has been 88 percent (seven out of eight).

Sang-Soo Kim ssoo@donga.com