Friday, January 20, 2023

Lee Dae-ho

Lee Dae-ho, who played for four teams in three countries in his 22 year career, retired at the end of the 2022 season.  Lee was originally drafted out of high school as a pitcher by the Lotte Giants in the 2001 KBO draft but a shoulder injury forced him to become a position player.  By 2004 he was a regular with Lotte and he had a breakout season in 2006, winning the Triple Crown with a .336 batting average, 26 home runs and 88 RBIs.  Four years later he won a second Triple Crown with a .364 average, 44 home runs and 133 RBIs.

He became a free agent after the 2011 season and left Korea for Japan, signing a two year contract with the Orix Buffaloes.  He had two very good years in Osaka but couldn't come to terms with the team for a new contract so he left for the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks.  He spent two seasons in Kyushu, winning back to back Japan Series, before he decided to try to go to MLB.

In 2016 he signed a one year deal with the Seattle Mariners and played in 104 games, hitting .253 with 14 home runs and 49 RBIs.  A free agent again at the end of the year, he decided to return to Korea and Lotte, signing a four year deal.  

Lee won the KBO MVP award in 2010.  Besides his two Triple Crown seasons he also led the KBO in batting in 2011, On Base Percentage in 2010 and 2011 and hits in 2010 and 2011.  He led the Pacific League in RBI in 2012 and won Best 9 awards in his first and last years in NPB (2012 and 2015).  He was the Nippon Series MVP in 2015 and won KBO All Star MVPs twice (2005 and 2008).  I don't know how many All Star teams he made in Korea but he was an All Star in three of the four seasons he spent in Japan (2012-14).  He's been a fixture on Korea's national teams, suiting up for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the 2009, 2013 and 2017 World Baseball Classics and the 2015 Premier 12.

Lee's first baseball cards are for the 2009 World Baseball Classic.  He had three base cards in the various WBC sets that Topps issued that year (along with numerous parallels and memorabilia cards) and also appeared in the Konami WBC Heroes set.  The only KBO card I know of from before he went to Japan is from the 2010 KBO Game set.  He appeared in both the 1st and 2nd Version sets from BBM every year he was in Japan and had at least one card in each Calbee flagship set for those four years as well.  He had a handful of Topps and Panini cards during his one year with Seattle and has been a regular in SCC's KBO sets since he returned to Korea.  Here's a bunch of his cards:

2009 Bowman Chrome WBC #BCW24

2010 KBO Game Set #AL-006

2012 Calbee #024

2013 BBM 1st Version #373

2014 BBM 1st Version #097

2015 BBM Memories Of Uniform #094

2016 Topps Chrome #RA-DL

2017 Vittum Home Run Kings #5

2018 SCC KBO Collection Premium #SCC-02/067 

2019 SCC KBO Collection 2 #SCCR2-19/133

2020 SCC KBO Premium #SCCP1-20/G14

2021 SCC KBO Golden Premium #SCC-21/G13 


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