Go to contents

‘People’s Manager’ Leads Korea Into WBC Semis

Posted March. 19, 2009 09:51,   


Kim In-shik, manager of the national baseball team, is nicknamed the “people’s manager.”

Against Japan yesterday in the World Baseball Classic, he led Korea to a 4-1 win and a berth in the semifinals.

In the first tournament in 2006, he led Korea to the final four by defeating the United States and Japan.

Back then, Kim coined the phrase “baseball of trust.” When Korea played other countries boasting big-name players in the U.S. Major League Baseball, Kim neither rushed nor felt afraid.

He surprised the world by winning six straight in the Asian qualifiers and in the finals, though Korea finished third. The manager trusted his players and his players trusted him to create a miracle.

This year, things were different. Things were chaotic from the very beginning when the manager was to be named.

Most Korean managers declined to take over the national team, citing the poor performance of their own pro squads and ill health. Kim, however, answered the call despite being physically disabled and the failure of his Hanwha Eagles to achieve a top four finish last season.

Simply put, he succeeded because he is a person who values trust.

The selection of the national team roster was not smooth, either. Slugger Lee Seung-yeop (Yomiuri Giants) and pitcher Park Chan-ho (Philadelphia Phillies), Korea’s main pillars in the first tournament, decided not to play this time.

This year’s team was considered inferior to the one three years ago, but Kim said, “If there is no country, there is no baseball,” instilling players with a sense of national pride.

“Don’t ask players questions. I will answer them all,” he said.

Kim has banned individual interviews with players since the team arrived in the United States. He apparently wants to avoid putting pressure on younger players due to mounting public interest in the team’s performance. Instead, Kim has stepped forward. Unlike in Korea, reporters are denied access to the dugout in the United States.

Kim, however, spoke to the media standing up despite his partially paralyzed leg due to stroke.

He started Choo Shin-soo (Cleveland Indians) in yesterday’s game. Choo was not in playing condition but Kim trusted the hitter, who is on the team despite an injured left elbow.

After finishing the Asian qualifiers, Kim caught a bad cold and carried tissue due to a constantly runny nose. The disabled manager is also dealing with a tight schedule and heavy pressure to win.

Nevertheless, he got the job done.