Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Jung Ho Kang of the Pittsburgh Pirates

The 2015 East Asia import class has been looking pretty lean this winter.  Chihiro Kaneko and Takeshi Toritani flirted some with the majors but both ended up rejoining their NPB teams.  The other big name rumored to be heading to the States - Kenta Maeda of the Carp - ended up not being posted.  Kwang-hyun Kim was posted by his team, the SK Wyverns of the KBO, but was unable to come to an agreement with the Padres, the team that won the bidding for his rights.

That leaves Jung-ho Kang, formerly of the Nexen Heroes, as the sole NPB/KBO player heading to North America this winter.  Kang has signed a four year deal with the Pirates which is waiting only on his physical tomorrow to become official.  I believe that Kang is the first KBO position player to come to MLB but I could be mistaken on that.  (Neither Hee Seop Choi or Shin-Soo Choo played in the KBO before signing with MLB teams.)

There are only a handful of baseball cards available for Kang and they are all from this year's Super Star baseball card sets.  According to the Trading Card Database, he had one card in Season Two and apparently four others (possibly all parallels?) in Season Three.  He does not appear in the 2010 KBO game set and everything else I'm aware of from Korea is prior to his KBO debut in 2006.  He played for Korea in the 2013 World Baseball Classic but did not make it into the Topps Tribute WBC set.

The only card I have for him is the Season Two Super Star card (#SBC02-043):

I've been trying to decide which stupid pop culture reference joke to make about him - either wonder what team is going to sign Kodos or remark about how he doesn't look anything like Michael Ansara (although Dave Pinto at Baseball Musings beat me to that one).

UPDATE - I should have expected this but there's already a guy on Ebay selling unlicensed cards of Kang.  The cards are supposedly from a company called "Turf".  Not bad looking but I don't do unlicensed.

1 comment:

Mark said...

I'm looking forward to watching him this season. It'll be interesting to see how his power numbers translate in the US.