Go to contents

In Unexpected Move, Doosan Bear Kim Dong-ju Retires

Posted October. 19, 2004 23:06,   


“Thank you for all those years of support. I have decided to quit baseball. I will get back to the team and talk it over with you soon.”

That was the message that Kim Dong-ju (28), a star player of the Bears, left on the answering machine of Kim Tae-ryong, deputy general manager of the Bears’ public relations department, at around 2:00 a.m. on October 19.

Kim Tae-ryong, who was shocked to hear the message, immediately tried to reach Kim Dong-ju, but his cell phone was already off.

Kim Dong-ju called the deputy general manager and the team manager, Kim Kyung-moon, and confirmed his intention of retiring that morning. He did not specify his whereabouts, but he said that he would go back to the team to discuss his plans further.

Bears management sees Kim Dong-ju’s behavior as absurd. Kim Tae-ryong said that he cannot understand why Kim Dong-ju is doing this. His message in the answering machine is somewhat understandable, since anybody can get emotional late at night after having drunk some alcohol. “However, when he called again in the morning and said that he would retire, I wasn’t sure what was going on,” the deputy general manager said.

Manager Kim Kyung-moon said that Kim Dong-ju had said that he was worn out by many things. Kim Kyung-moon said that he does not think Kim Dong-ju really intends to retire. “I guess he is fretting because he is both emotionally and physically tired,” he said. He added that he will try his best to make Kim Dong-ju return to the field again.

There are many personal factors that may have contributed to Kim Dong-ju’s struggles. He has been having a very hard time overcoming his divorce last year, and the health of his mother, who is fighting against diabetes, has worsened in recent days.

Kim Dong-ju, who could not concentrate on baseball under such circumstances, fell into a slump, going 1-for-9 at the plate in the first round of the playoffs, and going 4-for-16 in the second round of the playoffs. In six postseason games, he had no RBIs and was 5-for 25 with a batting average of 0.200. In response to the sudden announcement by Kim Dong-ju, fans began posting countless messages on the homepages of the Doosan Bears and the Korea Baseball Organization, hoping that he rescinds his announcement.

Bears’ fans reacted by saying that the Doosan Bears without Kim Dong-ju is unthinkable, and they are trying to make Kim withdraw his decision.

Sang-Soo Kim ssoo@donga.com