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A Magical Weekend for the “Samsung Yankees”

Posted April. 04, 2005 00:03,   


Since the start of the baseball season, Shim Jeong-soo (30 years old), a “big gun,” has been true to his nickname, “a salary champion,” putting in explosive batting performances. Recently, he moved from the Hyundai Unicorns to the Samsung Lions.

Last year, Shim finally qualified for free agency (FA) and signed a contract for a two billion won signing bonus and a 750 million won salary with the Samsung Lions. His maximum combined salaries for four years can reach six billion won. On April 3, the team’s second game against the Lotte Giants this season was held at Samsung’s baseball park in Daegu, Gyeongsang Province. Shim hit a home run that reversed the game in the first inning, and made two hits in two at bats (AB) with two walks and four runs batted in (RBI). He led his team to successive victories.

In the first inning, the bases were loaded with no out when Shim hit a superb home run that flew 135m over the left-field spectators’ seats by pulling Lotte’s starting pitcher Jang Won-jun’s second pitch, a low fastball.

Shim also contributed to his team’s 4-0 victory the day before in the opener with Lotte by energetically batting one two-base hit and making three hits in three ABs with one walk and one RBI. Shim continued to make hits by slapping successive five hits. That is a tie score with what Lotte’s Kim Eung-guk established in 1997.

In addition, Shim registered the highest on-base record for opening games by getting to the base eight times in a row for two days. The previous high belongs to Samsung’s Park Seung-ho and four other players in 1983 who got on base five times without a break that year.

In the opening match the day before, Bae Young-soo, Samsung’s ace, managed to throw a shutout for nine innings with four hits and seven strikeouts. The shutout opener is the fourth one of its kind to date, but a shutout with no strikeouts, no walks and no opposing runners advancing to second base is unprecedented.

This season is the first one for the Samsung Unicorns’ new coach Sun Dong-ryeol. With Bae Young-soo and Shim Jeong-soo helping the team score two consecutive victories, he may be relieved of some burdens in his long journey of 126 games.

Meanwhile, in Gwangju, Jeolla Province, Kia defeated Hanhwa 4-2 thanks to Kim Sang-hun’s decisive three-run home run and starting pitcher Kang Cheol-min’s excellent performance. It was a “compensatory victory” for Kia, which had been beaten by Hanhwa in the opening match.

Hwan Soo Zang Sung-Kyu Kim zangpabo@donga.com kimsk@donga.com