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Intertwined Relationships Link Korean Baseball Managers

Posted September. 30, 2005 08:12,   


The Korean professional baseball league begins its postseason starting with the first round of semi-playoffs between the SK Wyverns and the Hanwha Eagles on October 1.

After hard work, four teams, including the Samsung Lions and Doosan Bears, the first and second ranked teams in the pennant race, advanced to the postseason held in autumn. It would be interesting to see how managers of each team are related to one another before joining the fall baseball festival.

At the center of the relationships is the manager of Samsung baseball team, Sun Dong-ryeol. His course of action drew many people’s attention in 2003 when working as a member of the public relations committee for the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO).

At the time, the Doosan Bears made an attempt to bring in Sun as a manager, so then- Doosan manager Kim In-sik, who headed the team for nine years and currently leads Hanwha, voluntarily stepped down. Doosan offered Kim a position as a vice president, but he decided to retire from the baseball circle without regret. The 58-year-old manager Kim returned as manager of Hanwha this season.

Even though Sun’s joining of Doosan seemed likely, he chose to become the head coach of Samsung at the last minute. Therefore, the subsequent vacancy in the Doosan manager post was taken by the 47-year-old Kim Kyung-moon.

Earlier in 2002, there was a widespread rumor that Sun Dong-ryeol might join the SK Wyverns, but the 45-year-old Cho Bum-hyun eventually held the top position and he has headed SK since then.

The relationship between Samsung manager Sun and Doosan manager Kim dates back to about 20 years ago. The two belonged to the Korea University baseball team, but when Kim was the captain of the team, Sun was three years his junior and the youngest player on it.

At the time, the two shared the same concerns over acne. So, Kim took Sun, whose nickname was “sea squirt,” to a dermatology center near Seoul Station for therapy.

Doosan manager Kim Kyung-moon and SK manager Cho Bum-hyun graduated in the same class and two were rivals vying for the catcher position on the OB Bears, which later became Doosan, in Korean professional baseball’s first year in 1982.

Both of them were defensive catchers and took turns playing in games, but Kim was the key player in the Korean Series. While they were coaches, manager Kim Kyung-moon trained Hong Seong-heun and manager Cho trained Park Kyeong-wan as the outstanding catchers.

Meanwhile, manager Kim Kyung-moon assisted the current Hanwha manager Kim In-sik for six years from 1998 as a battery coach. Manager Kim In-sik and SK manager Cho Bum-hyun have little in common.