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Young Pitcher Named Baseball League MVP

Posted November. 07, 2008 05:23,   


Sitting side by side, they talked and laughed, but when the counting began, they seemed tense.

When SK Wyverns pitcher Kim Kwang-hyun gained more votes, Doosan Bears hitter Kim Hyun-soo smiled again and congratulated his friend heading for the stage in Seoul’s Lotte Hotel.

Both players are 20 years old, but SK’s Kim was named the Korean Baseball Organization’s Most Valuable Player Award over Doosan’s Kim.

Kim Kwang-hyun, who also posted league highs for wins (16) and strikeouts (150) last season, won 51 of 94 votes. The pitcher received a golden baseball trophy worth 20 million won (15,000 U.S. dollars) in becoming the fifth consecutive MVP to post the most wins, following Samsung Lions pitcher Bae Young-soo.

Kim Kwang-hyun was also the first MVP from the Korean Series champion since Lee Seung-yeop won the honor for Samsung in 2002.

Kim Hyun-soo won 27 votes as the youngest hitter to lead the league in batting average, hits and on-base percentage; the Hanwha Eagles’ Kim Tae-kyun got eight for winning the homerun title; the Lotte Giants slugger Karim Garcia five for leading in RBIs; and the Kia Tigers’ pitcher Yoon Seok-min three for having the lowest ERA.

When the regular season ended, Kim Kwang-hyun and Kim Hyun-soo were in a neck-and-neck race for the MVP. Kim Hyun-soo faltered in the Korean Series, however, with a poor performance. He finished second in the voting for rookie of the year last year and second for MVP this year.

Top rookie honors went to the Samsung Lions’ Choi Hyung-woo, who earned 76 of 94 votes. He received a bonus of two million won (1,500 dollars) for hitting .276, 19 homers and 71 RBIs.

This was the third time in league history that the rookie of the year was older than the MVP.