Korea Baseball Championship
||This article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2012)|
|Current season or competition:
2013 Korea Professional Baseball season
1981 (KBO founded)
|No. of teams||9 (Expanding to 10 in 2015)|
|Most recent champion(s)||Samsung Lions (6)|
|Most titles||Kia Tigers (10)|
|Founder||Korea Baseball Organization (KBO)|
|Korea Baseball Championship|
|Revised Romanization||Hanguk yagu seonsugwon daehoe|
|McCune–Reischauer||Han'guk yagu sŏnsugwon taehoe|
Korea Baseball Championship (Hangul: 한국야구선수권대회; Hanja: 韓國野球選手權大會), colloquially called Korea Professional Baseball (Hangul: 한국프로야구; Romanization: Hanguk Peuro-Yagu) is the highest level league of baseball in South Korea. Korea Professional Baseball was originally founded with six franchises in 1982 and currently has eight franchises throughout the nation. The franchises are named after the companies or business conglomerates which own them. Korea Professional Baseball is one of two major sports leagues in South Korea, the other being the K-League.
The inaugural franchises were:
- Haitai Tigers, based in Gwangju
- Lotte Giants, based in Busan
- MBC Chungyong, based in Seoul
- OB Bears, based in Daejeon
- Sammi Superstars, based in Incheon
- Samsung Lions, based in Daegu
In 1985, the Sammi Superstars became known as the Cheongbo Pintos. The next year, 1986, saw some major changes, with the OB Bears moving from Daejeon to share the Seoul's Jamsil Baseball Stadium with MBC Chungyong in Seoul. A new franchise, the Binggrae Eagles, joined to replace vacancy of Daejeon by OB's moving and expanding the league to seven franchises. 1988 saw the Cheongbo Pintos change ownership again, becoming the Pacific Dolphins. In 1990, MBC Chungyong became the LG Twins and an eighth franchise was added, the Ssangbangwool Raiders who represented the Jeollabuk-do region.
There was little change in the 90's except for a few major sponsors: 1993 saw the Binggrae Eagles become the Hanwha Eagles, in 1995 the Pacific Dolphins became the Hyundai Unicorns and the OB Bears in 1999 became the Doosan Bears. Bigger changes were affected in 2000 when the Hyundai Unicorns moved from Incheon to Suwon, and a new franchise, the SK Wyverns took their place in Incheon. The Ssangbangwool Raiders became defunct. In 2001, the Haitai Tigers became the Kia Tigers.
In 2008, the Hyundai Unicorns franchise was sold, renamed the Woori Heroes and moved to Mok-dong in Seoul, after a disappointing season in 2007 both on and off the field. Despite winning championships in 1998, 2000, 2003 and 2004, fans never really took to the franchise after their move from Incheon. Also, while the franchises in Busan, Daegu, Daejeon, and Gwangju did not have to compete with other franchises for fans, the Suwon-based Unicorns struggled to compete with the nearby Seoul franchises.
Founding member the Kia Tigers (formerly the Haitai Tigers) had won 10 of the 29 national championships.
Many of the players who excel in the Korean league go on to play for franchises in Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan. Such players in the NPB include Lee Seung-Yeop for the Yomiuri Giants, Kim Tae-Gyun for the Chiba Lotte Marines, Lim Chang-Yong for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows, and Tyrone Woods also for the Chunichi Dragons (former Doosan Bears player).
Season structure 
Starting in season 2013, each team plays 128 games in the regular season, reduced from 133 due to expansion to nine teams. Each team plays every other 16 times.
All-Star Game 
On the 17th of July every year, the best players participate in the Korean All-Star game. The franchises participating are divided into two regions: East (SK, Samsung, Doosan, Lotte) and West (Kia, Hanwha, LG, Heroes and NC). The titles 'East' and 'West' do not directly correspond to the geographical regions of the franchises involved, as both SK and Doosan, being from Incheon and Seoul respectively, are clearly based in the Western region of Korea, despite representing the East. Unlike in the MLB, the Korean All-star game does not determine home-field advantage in the Korean Series. The most recent Korean All-star game[when?] was played in Seoul and won 5-4 by the West team.
Korea Professional Baseball season culminates in its championship series, known as the Korean Series. Currently, the top four teams qualify for the post-season based on win/loss records. The team with the best record gains a direct entry into the Korean Series, while the other three teams compete for the remaining place in a step-ladder playoff system:
- Semi-playoff: 3rd vs. 4th; best 3 out of 5 games
- Playoff: 2nd vs. winner Semi-playoff; best 3 out of 5 games (reduced from 7 games starting from 2009)
- Korean Series: 1st vs. winner Playoff; best 4 out of 7 games.
Any playoff games ending in an official tie are replayed, thereby raising the possibility of a close series containing more than the originally scheduled 5 or 7 games.
Traditionally, Korea Professional Baseball games have a maximum number of extra innings before a game is declared an official tie. The KBO abolished this limit for the 2008 season, however it was reinstated in 2009, with a 12-innings limit imposed during both regular season and playoff games. However, no extra innings are played in the first game of a double-header, with games limited to 9 innings. Starting from the 2009 season, tied games count as a loss for both teams for percentage calculation purposes; from 2002 until 2007 they were considered a "no game"; prior to this they counted as half a win and half a loss.
The league places a cap on the number of foreign players allowed on club rosters. The foreign player limit is currently set at two.
All teams use the designated hitter rule.
Participating franchises 
|Doosan Bears [note 1]||Seoul||Kim Jin-Wook||1982|
|Hanwha Eagles [note 2]||Daejeon||Kim Eung-Ryong||1985||1986|
|Kia Tigers [note 3]||Gwangju||Sun Dong-Yeol||1982|
|Lotte Giants||Busan||Kim Si-Jin||1975||1982|||
|LG Twins [note 4]||Seoul||Kim Ki-Tae||1982|
|NC Dinos||Changwon||Kim Kyung-Moon||2011||2013|
|Nexen Heroes||Seoul||Yeom Kyung-Yup||2008|
|Samsung Lions||Daegu||Ryu Joong-Il||1982|
|SK Wyverns||Incheon||Lee Man-Soo||2000|
|KT Wiz||Suwon||To be determined||2013||2015|
Defunct clubs 
|Hyundai Unicorns [note 5]||Suwon||1982||2008|
- Known as the OB Bears until 1998; Located in Daejeon until 1984
- Known as the Binggrae Eagles until 1993
- Former Haitai Tigers 1982–2000
- Former MBC Chungyong 1982–1989
- Former Sammi Superstars 1982–1985, Chungbo Pintos 1985–1987, Pacific Dolphins 1988–1995; Located in Incheon until 1999
As of April, 2012.
|Doosan Bears / LG Twins||Hanwha Eagles||Kia Tigers||Lotte Giants|
|Jamsil Baseball Stadium||Hanbat Baseball Stadium||Mudeung Baseball Stadium||Sajik Baseball Stadium|
|Capacity: 27,500||Capacity: 14,133||Capacity: 13,872||Capacity: 28,500|
|NC Dinos||Nexen Heroes||Samsung Lions||SK Wyverns|
|Masan Baseball Stadium||Mokdong Baseball Stadium||Daegu Baseball Stadium||Munhak Baseball Stadium|
|Capacity: 16,000||Capacity: 18,000||Capacity: 10,000||Capacity: 28,000|
- Most successful clubs
|Club||Champions||Runners-Up||Winning Seasons||Runners-Up Seasons|
||1983, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2009|
||1985, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2011, 2012||1982, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1993, 2001, 2004, 2010|
|Hyundai Unicorns (defunct)||
||1998, 2000, 2003, 2004||1994, 1996|
||1982, 1995, 2001||2000, 2005, 2007, 2008|
||2007, 2008, 2010||2003, 2009, 2011, 2012|
||1990, 1994||1983, 1997, 1998, 2002|
||1984, 1992||1995, 1999|
||1999||1988, 1989, 1991, 1992, 2006|
See also