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Ryu, Shun become first MLB teammate pitchers to wear No. 99 and No. 1

Ryu, Shun become first MLB teammate pitchers to wear No. 99 and No. 1

Posted January. 17, 2020 08:43,   

Updated January. 17, 2020 08:43


Would the combination of No. 99 player and No. 1 player result in a perfect 100-point season for their team?

Ryu Hyun-jin, the 33-year-old pitcher dubbed the Korean Monster, and his new team Toronto Blue Jays will be joined by a new Japanese pitcher. On Thursday, Shun Yamaguchi, who was ace of the Japanese baseball team Yomiuri Giants, had a press conference at Rogers Center, the home stadium of his new MLB team.

Having started his professional career in 2006, Yamaguchi made a crucial contribution to the Giants’ winning the title of Central League last year with 2.91 ERA, 188 strikeouts, and a record of 15 wins and four defeats. Many Koreans will recognize Shun from his outing in the final game with Korean national team in November last year, where he allowed three runs in one inning. “Toronto, the only Canada-based team in the MLB, is special to me,” said the Japanese pitcher during the press conference.

As Yamaguchi chose No.1 as his back number, Ryu and Yamaguchi have become the first two pitchers wearing No. 99 and No. 1 within the same team in MLB history. Their unique combination is in the eleventh in history of the Big League when the infielders and outfielders are also taken into account. In fact, Ryu was the first player to wear 99 as back number in history of the Blue Jays. No. 99 is the retired number of Wayne Gretzky, the greatest Canadian hockey player of the NHL. In the Giants last year, Yamaguchi wore No. 11.

Both born in 1987, the two men are equals in age, but their standings in the team are not the same. Ryu Hyun-jin is guaranteed his position as ace of the Blue Jays, but Yamaguchik

must prove himself through the Spring Camp. Yahoo Sports Canada proposed the possibility of Yamaguchi stepping up as starting pitcher, citing the histories of injury of Ryu and Matt Shoemaker.

Hong-Gu Kang windup@donga.com