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MVP Choi Hyoung-woo earns his first MVP as the oldest 'Mr. All-Star'

MVP Choi Hyoung-woo earns his first MVP as the oldest 'Mr. All-Star'

Posted July. 08, 2024 07:52,   

Updated July. 08, 2024 07:52


How far can Choi Hyoung-woo (41, KIA), who seems to be aging in reverse, go? Choi, the "living legend" of professional baseball, has set yet another record by becoming the oldest MVP in All-Star Game history. As the second half of the season begins on Tuesday, he will be vying for the title of the oldest RBI champion in history and aiming for his sixth personal victory in the Korean Series.

On Saturday, at Incheon SSG Landers Field, Choi participated in the 2024 All-Star Game as the designated hitter for the Nanum All-Stars, hitting three-for-four (including one home run) with two RBIs, leading his team to a four-two victory. At 40 years, six months, and 20 days old, Choi was voted "Mr. All-Star" by the press, receiving 19 out of 21 votes. The previous record was held by Lee Byung-kyu of LG, who was named All-Star Game MVP at 36 years, eight months, and 28 days old in 2011.

Despite his skills, Choi has had relatively few awards. The biggest was the Rookie of the Year award in 2008. In 2016, despite achieving a batting average of .376, 31 home runs, and 144 RBIs, he lost the MVP vote to pitcher Dustin Nippert (then with Doosan), who won 22 games that year. In 2020, he recorded a batting average of .354, 28 home runs, and 115 RBIs, but the MVP went to Mel Rojas Jr. (KT), who hit 47 home runs.

Choi, who had batting averages in the .200s in both 2021 and 2022, rediscovered his role as a clutch hitter last year, his 40th year, and reemerged as a "man of records." Last year, he broke the records for the most career doubles (464) and RBIs (1498) held by Doosan manager Lee Seung-yeop. As of Sunday, Choi has recorded 509 doubles and 1615 RBIs. He also surpassed Lee's record for the most total bases this year, setting a new record with 4120 total bases.

Heon-Jae Lee uni@donga.com