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Keep Your Eyes Riveted on the “Rare Stats Parade”

Posted November. 01, 2004 23:03,   


For the first time in the history of professional baseball, a postseason championship included three consecutive tied games: this year’s Korean Series between the Hyundai Unicorns and the Samsung Lions. Befitting such an unprecedented run, the series yielded a whole bevy of rare stats.

Rather than being deflating for the players and the fans, the mass production of draws was enlivened by intense pitching and batting match-ups, leading to a variety of new records. This is the first time in Korea’s 23-year history of professional baseball that a best-of-seven series failed to produce a winning team, thereby forcing a decisive eighth game.

Ties and Records—

Game 2, a veritable slugfest for both sides, ended in an 8-8 draw. This is not only the highest-scoring tied game in postseason history, but also the first draw to result from the time limit imposed on regular inning play.

In Game 4, the tight pitching match-up led to a 0-0 tie, the first since the inception of the Korean Series. Samsung’s starting pitcher Bae Young-su unofficially recorded a perfect game (0 hits, 0 runs) through 10 innings, also a first. In the 12 innings played, the pitchers from both teams came up with 27 strike outs altogether, which is a new record for a single postseason game.

Triple Plays and Stolen Home Bases—

There were two rare stats in Game 7. In the top of the first inning, Samsung ran into a morale-crushing triple play. With none out and runners on first and second, a line drive by Yang Joon-hyuk was snapped up by first baseman Lee Soong-yong, who then forced out Kim Jong-hoon on first and threw to second to get baserunner Park Han-ee.

During Hyundai’s at-bat in the bottom of the first, with one out and runners on first and third, Jeon Joon-ho succeeded in stealing home from third base while Samsung pitcher Jeong Byung-ho was attempting a pick-off throw to first. It was the second stolen home base in postseason history, and the first in a Korean Series game.

The Dancing Bats—

In Game 3, which ended with Samsung defeating Hyundai 8-3, the Unicorns swept up a new record by scoring in six consecutive innings. During the eight games of this year’s Korean Series, the two teams exceeded the existing series record for home runs (12) by slugging a total of 16 out of the park. But in Game 6, they could only produce four hits between them, a record for the fewest number of hits in a postseason game.

And the Records Continue—

With the Korean Series going into overdrive, there were new records set in terms of games played as well. Hyundai’s Jeon Joon-ho set a record for the most number of Korean Series games played (40) when he took the field for Game 8, while reliever Lee Sang-yeol set the record for most games pitched in a single postseason series by coming in from the bullpen in every game. On a more painful note, Samsung catcher Jin Gap-yong was hit by a record four pitches during over the course of the series.

The Korean Series “Jackpot”—

The revenue for this year’s postseason exceeded the existing record of 2,914,622,000 won, set in 1997. The Korea Baseball Organization distributes the earnings between the teams who played in the postseason, after excluding various fees and expenses. The winning team gets a hefty 50 percent, while 25 percent goes to the second-place team, 15 percent to the third-place team, and 10 percent to the fourth-place team.

Chang Jeon jeon@donga.com