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Park Chan-ho Shines Despite World Series Loss

Posted November. 07, 2009 08:40,   


The New York Yankees have won their 27th World Series title, but Korean baseball fans were impressed by Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Park Chan-ho’s outstanding play in his Fall Classic debut.

Park, 36, entered the U.S. majors in 1994 by joining the Los Angeles Dodgers. The first Korean to join Major League Baseball, Park finally played in the World Series in his 16th season.

He pitched in Game 2, 4, 5 and 6 in the 2009 World Series, giving up no earned runs over three and a third innings. He came in at critical moments when his team was trailing by one or two runs or sought to protect leads.

In the four games he played, he faced Yankee slugger Derek Jeter three times, and held him to strikeout, walk and a groundout to first base.

As evidenced by his three encounters with Jeter, Phillies manager Charles Manuel showed strong confidence in Park.

Jeter, dubbed “Mr. Yankee,” fared poorly against Park but had a great playoff run this season. He hit .407 in the World Series and .344 in the postseason.

Fans enthusiastically welcomed and cheered at the revival of the “captain” after Jeter hit just .176 in the American League division series two years ago.

Jeter is a player popular across the U.S. as well as in New York. He generated a flurry of “plays of the year” with timely hits and outstanding defense at critical moments.

Moreover, he played at the World Baseball Classic in March when most other stars skipped the event for two consecutive years, demonstrating his patriotism. This has helped dispel criticism of his “exaggerated” talent and performance.

Jeter is considered the biggest contributor to New York’s title run, more so than three free agents the Yankees bought for 430 million U.S. dollars. The shortstop has played for the Yankees for 15 years.

Alex Rodriguez, who is the highest paid player with an annual salary of 33 million U.S. dollars, is another star of this year’s World Series. His six homers and .365 average in the postseason helped to shake off his image as a notorious choker in big games.