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Inside the Mind of Samsung Lions’ CEO

Posted November. 05, 2005 03:02,   


How many people know that the popular expression, “Oh, Dong-yeol is gone, oh, Jong-beom is gone,” which is attributed to Samsung Lions President Kim Eung-yong (64), was not actually started by him?

As a manager, Kim Eung-yong won 10 Korean Series. He is the first former baseball player to become CEO of a baseball team, and has been lucky enough to see his team win the championship in his first year on the job.

This is the image of Kim Eung-yong that the public knows. Beneath the surface, however, he is often an entirely different person.

Kim Eung-yong says the previously mentioned catchphrase was not actually coined by him. It became a popular phrase when comedians started to imitate his way of talking.

He said, “I don’t usually make excuses. It is true that when Dong-yeol and Jong-beom went to Japan, I thought ‘Oh no.’ But to the other players I said, ‘It’s good that they are gone. The rest of you can take their places if you are good enough.’”

In his years as a manager, Kim Eung-yong endured endless speculation and rumors. While the strong emotions from the championship have yet to disappear, we met Kim Eung-yong for a straightforward talk.

Was there no pressure since you are a president now?

It would have been embarrassing if a team did not win when a former “baseballer” has been made president of the team. I felt really pressured when the presidents of the other teams said, “Since you have won many championships as a manager, surely you will win again this time!”

Did you give advice to Lions manager Sun Dong-yeol?-

This may sound like a lie, but I never went to the dugout at all this year. When I was a manager, I hated it when I was being told what to do from the higher levels. I also never met Sun Dong-yeol personally except at official events.

Do you exhibit exceptional leadership?-

I know nothing about leadership. I only have my rules. You must not lie to the players. You must be a role model to others. You should not tell the players to refrain from drinking and smoking when you are doing it yourself. This is a lesson I learned throughout my long experience in baseball.

Is Samsung building a baseball stadium?-

The destiny of pro baseball depends on the construction of baseball stadiums. A baseball stadium is not built by a corporation. Look at the football stadiums. The government paid for such great facilities during the World Cup. Fortunately, Daegu City is positive towards building a new baseball field in the city. We must build a good stadium with the help and support of the government, the city of Daegu, and the team. We need about three or four more stadiums that can hold 30,000 seats each.

Are you coming back as a manager?-

I am never going to be a manager again. It’s so convenient being a president, why should I go through all the trouble again? In the future I want to form a children’s team. And I will learn baseball again from them (laughs).