Shohei Ohtani is the most popular baseball star in the world right now. With the two-edged 二刀流, he realized his pitching and hitting skills, which can be seen in cartoons. He also threw well and hit well, and summoned legendary Major League player Babe Ruth’s 10 wins and 10 home runs from 100 years ago.
There is a legend in Korea that should not be left out. Kim Sung-han, 66, former manager of Kia Motors, is known as Ohtani of Korea. Kim is a baseball genius who won 10 games as a pitcher and hit 13 home runs as a batter while wearing the Haitai uniform in 1982, the first year of professional baseball. This is still the only record in the history of Korean pro baseball. The Hankook Ilbo met Kim, who created a craze for both pitching and batting before Ohtani.헤라카지노주소
I got paid for a 22 pyeong apartment in Gwangju and joined Haitai
Director Kim Sung-han during the Haitai period. File photo of Hankook Ilbo
Kim’s pitching and batting performance is no coincidence. Having made a name for himself as a pitcher since his days at Gunsan Commercial High School, he became a master of reversal and entered Dongguk University. In college, he took the mound and kept throwing balls, but he ended up in trouble. Since his freshman year, he has focused on batters and dreamed of getting a job at a bank’s vocational baseball team. “My dream since high school was to get into a bank and quit baseball as soon as possible to learn about the job,” Kim confessed. In fact, he was offered to join Hanil Bank when he was a junior, and the following year, in 1982, news spread that a professional baseball team was launched.
He was agonizing over whether it was Haitai, a bank founded in the Jeolla region, or Haitai, a bank. A professional is expected to be unemployed as soon as he retires, while a professional is treated with certainty. On the other hand, a bank allows for stable working life. “I wanted to become a professional, but on the other hand, I was also afraid that my lifelong dream of becoming a banker would collapse,” he said.
After much thought, he finally decided to go professional. As a rising star, he signed a down payment of 12 million won and an annual salary of 12 million won. “At that time, my friends went to the bank and I received around 360,000 won per month,” Kim said. “It was not a small amount of money considering that the market price of a 22-pyeong apartment in Gwangju was 15 million won.” That’s how the legendary Korean baseball legend began his professional career.
“Korean Ohtani” created by the times
Signing an annual salary contract with Haitai club. File photo of Hankook Ilbo
Kim’s professional debut season was spectacular. He played in all 80 games as a central hitter with a batting average of 0.305, 13 homers, 69 RBIs and 10 stolen bases. Due to the team’s lack of pitchers as there were only 15 players on the team, he pitched 26 times on the mound with 10 wins, 5 losses, 1 save and an ERA of 2.79. When the division of pitchers was not achieved, he pitched 106.1 innings, far exceeding the required innings by moving between starters and bullpen. It was a combination of pitching and hitting by others, not by will. “I thought 15 players were enough because I had been playing amateur baseball, but now I can’t believe it,” Kim said. “I had no choice but to be overworked because I was pitching like a high school baseball but fell into a fielder and became a pitcher again in crisis.” I have no regrets. “I thought he would do that for sure,” Kim said. “I didn’t have any complaints at all. I think he just played because he was enjoying himself.”
Ohtani is far superior in ball speed and physical conditions, but isn’t Kim better than the indomitable spirit? “I am nothing better than Ohtani,” he said, shaking his head and emphasizing that his dedication to the team and mental strength were not an atmosphere in which he could refuse to come, even if his body was broken. “Now that times have changed, how can we force a player to do both pitching and hitting from the beginning, and the difference is that he had no choice but to do it because the team was struggling.”
Playing the drums alone, playing the janggu… Doubles the annual salary?
Hankook Ilbo newspaper featuring former director Kim’s performance. Hankook Ilbo material photo
The title of the game, which was published in the Hankook Ilbo’s article on the news of the Haitai-Samsung game held in Gwangju on May 15, 1982, is “Kim Sung-han is the only one to beat and beat Janggu.” This game is one of his life’s games. Taking the mound as a relief pitcher in the top of the sixth inning, trailing Samsung 0-2, Kim hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh inning, tying the game, and even had a walk-off hit in the bottom of the 11th inning. He kept the mound scoreless and took responsibility for his team’s 3-2 victory. “I had a game in which I became a winning pitcher by blocking a crisis and hitting a finishing hit as a relief pitcher,” Kim said, accurately remembering the title that was published in the Hankook Ilbo newspaper.
News of the shutout. Hankook Ilbo File Photo
He still has clear memories of his home game against Sammi on June 8, 1983. Kim, who was taking a break from pitching due to poor elbow condition, was instructed by manager Kim So-yong to “be the starting pitcher today.” Even when he took the mound suddenly, he performed his duties up to 120 percent with shutouts. “Kim Sung-han, the savior, appeared on the mound at Haetae, which had been struggling due to the breakdown of ace Kim Yong-nam,” the Hankook Ilbo newspaper said at the time. “Kim Sung-han, an all-around star who had insisted on his path as a batter, took the mound as a starter for Haetae and silenced Sammi’s batting lineup with five hits, two four balls and four strikeouts, and made his debut as a pitcher this season with a shutout victory.” “It was a three-game series between Sammi and Gwangju, which had been ranked first, but the pitcher ran out and the manager told him to throw the starting pitcher,” Kim recalled. “Sammi, who lost all three games in a row, plummeted after that, and we even won the Korean Series.” “People around me encouraged me to take separate annual salaries for batters and pitchers, and I told my team that I should get paid separately,” Kim said with a smile. “They didn’t accept it. I just got what I was getting.”
Former director Kim, who was famous for his duck-billed batting style. File photo of Hankook Ilbo
Kim is one of the best hitters no matter what. He has won six Golden Gloves, three home run titles, two Most Valuable Player titles, and two RBIs. He was also famous for his unique batting form. He was nicknamed “duck butt.”