Sunday, July 25, 2021

Card Of The Week July 25

When I was researching my post on the Korean Olympic Baseball Team, I was surprised when I saw that one player - Lee Jung-hoo - was actually born in Nagoya, Japan!  When I started reading his biography, I saw the reason why (and went "Duh!") - Lee Jung-hoo is the son of former Haitai/Kia Tigers legend Lee Jong-beom, who spent a couple years playing in NPB with the Chunichi Dragons.  Which explains why the younger Lee was born in Nagoya - he wanted to be close to his mother who presumably was in Japan with her husband.

The elder Lee had a great career in Korea, making the All Star team 13 times.  His sophomore season of 1994 was one of legend - he led the league with a .393 average (second highest all time in the KBO) while stealing a league record 84 bases.  He led the league in hits and runs scored as well, helping him win the MVP award.  After five seasons with Haitai he joined the Dragons in 1998.  He didn't have a lot of success in Japan though and rejoined the Tigers (now owned by Kia) in mid-2001.  He pretty much returned to his performance levels from before he left for Japan, at least for the first few seasons after he returned.  He retired after the 2011 season and his number 7 was retired by the team.  His nicknames were "Baseball Genius", "The Korean Ichiro" and "Son Of The Wind".

2001 BBM #298

The younger Lee was drafted by the then-Nexen Heroes in 2016 and debuted with them in 2017 without having played for their farm team at all.  He won the Rookie Of The Year award that season.  He's won a couple Golden Gloves and was MVP of the playoffs in 2019.  His lowest batting average in his four complete seasons so far was .324 in his rookie season.  And, of course, his nickname is "Grandson Of The Wind".

2019 SCC KBO Collection 2 #SCCR2-19/080 All Star


Sean said...

Interesting, he has something in common with both of my kids.

I'm a bit confused by this line though:

"Which explains why the younger Lee was born in Nagoya - he wanted to be close to his mother who presumably was in Japan with her husband."

He wanted to be closer to his the time of his own birth? Seems he would have to be close to her - really really close - then regardless of whether he wanted to or not!

NPB Card Guy said...

Sorry, it's an old joke. I don't remember where I first heard it but I remember using the line on my great-uncle Van years ago. He asked me why I was born in St Louis and I told him I wanted to be near my mother.

I probably should have used "near" instead of "close" in the post though.