KBO League

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
KBO League
Current season, competition or edition:
Current sports event 2018 KBO League season
KBO League.svg
Sport Baseball
Founded 1982
1981 (KBO founded)
Founder Korea Baseball Organization
No. of teams 10
Country South Korea
Venue(s) 9
Most recent
Kia Tigers (11th title)
Most titles Kia Tigers (11 titles)
Qualification Asia Series (2005–2013)
TV partner(s) KBS, MBC, SBS, Sky Sports, SPOTV
Official website koreabaseball.com

The KBO League (HangulKBO 리그),[1][2] originally called the Korea Baseball Championship (Hangul한국야구선수권대회; Romanization: Hanguk Yagu Seonsukkwon Daehoe), is the highest level league of baseball in South Korea. The KBO League was founded with six franchises in 1982, and has expanded to ten franchises.[3] Nine of the ten franchises are named after the companies or business conglomerates which own them, while one sold their naming rights (Nexen Heroes).[4] The KBO League is the most popular sports league in South Korea.[5]


The first game was played on March 27, 1982 between Samsung Lions and the MBC Chungyong (now the LG Twins) at Dongdaemun Baseball Stadium, Seoul. Then-president Chun Doo-hwan threw the first pitch.

The inaugural franchises were:

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 1990s except for a few major sponsors: in 1993 the Binggrae Eagles became 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 disbanded, re-founded as the Woori Heroes and moved to Mok-dong in Seoul. Despite winning four championships, the franchise enjoyed little fan support after moving to Suwon. The team's naming rights were sold to Nexen Tire and the team was renamed Nexen Heroes.

Expansion resumed in the 2010s, with the addition of the NC Dinos, located in Changwon, which joined the league in 2013. It is the first team located in Changwon, the city having previously been the second home of the nearby Lotte Giants.

In 2015, the KT Wiz became the league's 10th franchise. They play their home games in Suwon, which had not had a team since the Hyundai Unicorns' disbandment.

The league has recently enjoyed a surge in popularity, with increased attendance and player salaries. Several KBO players have also successfully transitioned from the KBO to the Major Leagues, such as Ryu Hyun-Jin, Kang Jung-Ho or Kim Hyun-soo. This increase in popularity has been accompanied by the building of larger and more modern ballparks, such as Gwangju-Kia Champions Field (2014), Gocheok Sky Dome (2016) and Daegu Samsung Lions Park (2016).

Founding member Kia Tigers (formerly Haitai Tigers) has won 10 of the 35 national championships.

Season structure[edit]

Starting with the 2015 season, each team plays 144 games in the regular season, increased from 128 due to the addition of the KT Wiz to the league. Each team plays every other team 16 times.[6]

KBO All-Star Game[edit]

In mid-July of every season, the best players participate in the KBO All-Star Game. The franchises participating are divided into two sets of teams: Dream All-Stars (Doosan, KT, Lotte, Samsung, and SK) and Nanum All-Stars (Kia, Hanwha, LG, NC and Nexen). The KBO All-star game does not determine home-field advantage in the KBO Korean Series.


The KBO League's season culminates in its championship series, known as the KBO Korean Series. Currently, the top five teams qualify for the post-season based on win/loss records. The lowest-qualifying teams face off in a step-ladder playoff system, where each winner then faces the next-highest team, culimnating in the Korean Series against the top-ranked team.

  • KBO Wild Card Game: 5th place team vs. 4th place team.
4th place advances with one win, 5th place must win twice to advance.
  • KBO Semi Playoffs: KBO Wild Card Game Winner vs. 3rd place team
First to three games advances.
  • KBO Playoffs: KBO Semi Playoffs Winner vs. 2nd place team
First to three games advances (reduced from four games since 2009).
  • KBO Korean Series: KBO Playoffs Winner vs. 1st place team
First to four games wins championship.

Any playoff games ending in an official tie are replayed, thereby raising the possibility of a close series containing more than the scheduled five or seven 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 regular season, 15-innings limit for playoff games.[7] The league places a cap on the number of foreign players allowed on club rosters. The foreign player limit is set at three, increased from two players from 2014.

All teams use the designated hitter rule.


  1. ^ The KBO have implemented dual league in 1999 and 2000. The leagues were named Dream League and Magic League.
  2. ^ Former Western League 1982–1998, 2001–2014
  3. ^ Former Eastern League 1982–1998, 2001–2014

Franchise locations[edit]

Locations are listed from north to south.

City 1982–1984 1985 1986–1989 1990–1993 1994–1998 1998 1999 2000–2001 2002–2007 2008–2012 2013–2014 2015–present
Seoul MBC Chungyong, 1982–1989 LG Twins, 1989–present
  OB Bears, 1985–1998 Doosan Bears, 1999–present
  Nexen Heroes, 2008–present [note 1]
Incheon Hyundai Unicorns[note 2]  
  SK Wyverns, 2000–present
Suwon   Hyundai Unicorns, 2000–2007  
  KT Wiz, 2015–present
Daejeon OB Bears, 1982–1984  
  Binggrae Eagles, 1986–1993 Hanwha Eagles, 1993–present
Jeonju   Ssangbangwool Raiders, 1990–1999  
Daegu Samsung Lions, 1982–present
Gwangju Haitai Tigers, 1982–2001 Kia Tigers, 2002–present
Changwon   NC Dinos, 2013–present
Busan Lotte Giants, 1982–present
  1. ^ Also known as Woori Heroes (2008) and Seoul Heroes (2008–2009)
  2. ^ Also known as the Sammi Superstars (1982–1985), Chungbo Pintos (1985–1987) and Pacific Dolphins (1988–1995)


Doosan Bears / LG Twins Hanwha Eagles Kia Tigers KT Wiz Lotte Giants
Jamsil Baseball Stadium Hanwha Life Eagles Park Gwangju-Kia Champions Field Suwon kt wiz park Busan Sajik Baseball Stadium
Capacity: 25,553 Capacity: 13,000 Capacity: 22,244 Capacity: 22,067 Capacity: 26,800
Jamsil Baseball Stadium panorama (April 28 2017).jpg Daejeon Hanbat Baseball Stadium.jpg Gwangju Kia Champions Field View 04.jpg 20150531 KT Wiz vs Doosan Bears (2).jpg Busan Sajik Stadium 20080706.JPG
NC Dinos Nexen Heroes Samsung Lions SK Wyverns
Masan Baseball Stadium Gocheok Sky Dome Daegu Samsung Lions Park Munhak Baseball Stadium
Capacity: 11,000 Capacity: 16,813 Capacity: 24,000 Capacity: 26,000
Changwon Masan Ballpark.jpg Gocheok Sky Dome interior.jpg DAEGU.PNG Munhak Baseball Stadium 20150711 SK vs Kia.jpg

In addition to these ballparks, the Lotte Giants play some games at Ulsan Munsu Baseball Stadium, the Samsung Lions at Pohang Baseball Stadium and the Hanwha Eagles at Cheongju Baseball Stadium.


Club Champions Runners-up Winning seasons Runners-up seasons
Kia Tigers
1983, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2009, 2017
Samsung Lions
1985, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 1982, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1993, 2001, 2004, 2010, 2015
Doosan Bears
1982, 1995, 2001, 2015, 2016 2000, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2013, 2017
Hyundai Unicorns (defunct)
1998, 2000, 2003, 2004 1994, 1996
SK Wyverns
2007, 2008, 2010 2003, 2009, 2011, 2012
LG Twins
1990, 1994 1983, 1997, 1998, 2002
Lotte Giants
1984, 1992 1985, 1995, 1999
Hanwha Eagles
1999 1988, 1989, 1991, 1992, 2006
Nexen Heroes
NC Dinos
KT Wiz


  • 1st – Champions
  • 2nd – Runners-up
  • PO – Playoff loser
  • SPO – Semi-playoff loser
  • WC – Wild card game loser
  •  -  – Did not qualify
  •  ×  – Not held
  •      – Did not participate
Teams 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000
Doosan 1st × PO PO SPO 1st SPO PO 2nd
Hanwha 2nd 2nd SPO 2nd 2nd PO SPO 1st
Hyundai × PO 2nd 2nd 1st 1st
Kia 1st × 1st 1st 1st 1st PO 1st PO 1st SPO 1st 1st
LG 2nd × 1st PO 1st PO 2nd 2nd PO
Lotte 1st × SPO 1st 2nd 2nd SPO
Samsung 2nd 2nd 1st 2nd 2nd PO SPO 2nd PO SPO 2nd PO PO PO PO
Ssangbangwool PO SPO
Number 2 2 2 1* 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 3 4 4 4 4 5
Teams 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 Total
Doosan 1st PO 2nd 2nd 2nd PO PO SPO 2nd 1st 1st 2nd 20
Hanwha SPO PO 2nd PO 12
Hyundai PO SPO 1st 1st PO 10
Kia PO PO SPO SPO 1st SPO WC 1st 20
KT 0
LG 2nd PO PO PO 12
NC SPO PO 2nd PO 4
Nexen SPO 2nd SPO SPO 4
Samsung 2nd 1st SPO 2nd 1st 1st SPO PO 2nd 1st 1st 1st 1st 2nd 29
SK 2nd SPO 1st 1st 2nd 1st 2nd 2nd WC WC 10
Ssangbangwool 2
Number 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 5 5 5 5 135


See footnote[8] and Baseball awards#South Korea

Year-end regional tournament[edit]

Year Tournament Participants Round Position W L RS RA
Japan 2005 2005 Asia Series Samsung Lions Final 2nd, silver medalist(s) 2nd 2 2 17 17
Japan 2006 2006 Asia Series Samsung Lions Group Stage 3rd, bronze medalist(s) 3rd 1 2 16 11
Japan 2007 2007 Asia Series SK Wyverns Final 2nd, silver medalist(s) 2nd 3 1 37 10
Japan 2008 2008 Asia Series SK Wyverns Group Stage 3rd, bronze medalist(s) 3rd 2 1 23 13
Japan 2009 KBO-NPB Club Championship 2009 Kia Tigers 2nd, silver medalist(s) Runner-up 0 1 4 9
Japan 2010 KBO-NPB Club Championship 2010 SK Wyverns 2nd, silver medalist(s) Runner-up 0 1 0 3
Chinese Taipei 2010 CPBL-KBO Club Championship 2010 1st, gold medalist(s) Winner (Shared) 1 1 7 5
Taiwan 2011 2011 Asia Series Samsung Lions Final 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st 3 1 21 17
South Korea 2012 2012 Asia Series Samsung Lions Group Stage 3rd, bronze medalist(s) 3rd 1 1 9 3
Lotte Giants (H) Group Stage 4th 1 1 6 6
Taiwan 2013 2013 Asia Series Samsung Lions Semifinals 4th 2 1 15 15
Total 16 13 155 109
  • (H) - Qualified as host.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Korea Baseball Championship is the annual pennant race of first-tier professional baseball league in South Korea." Confirmed by Moon Jung-kyun, Public Relations Manager of Korea Baseball Organization. For further information, refer to the talk page of the Korean version article.
  2. ^ For the official name of the league, refer to following page: http://baseballinkorea.com/2015/03/01/kbo-brand-identity
  3. ^ http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2010/04/15/2010041500309.html
  4. ^ http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/opinon/2010/05/266_41922.html
  5. ^ [2017 결산] 프로야구, 역대 최다 840만 관중..국민스포츠 공고 (in Korean). star.mt.co.kr. December 21, 2017. Retrieved February 12, 2017. 
  6. ^ Korea Baseball Organization (2015). 2015 달라지는 점 Archived 2015-04-05 at the Wayback Machine. (Korean). Accessed on April 14, 2015.
  7. ^ Kim Jae-Won (2009-01-13). KBO Abolishes Endless Overtime Rule. The Korea Times. Accessed on 2009-06-11.
  8. ^ Category:Korea Baseball Organization Awards. Baseball-Reference.com (Sports Reference LLC). Retrieved 2010-07-02.
  9. ^ KBO Most Valuable Player Award. Baseball-Reference.com (Sports Reference LLC). Retrieved 2010-07-02. See also: Chinese Professional Baseball League MVP of the Year Award and Nippon Professional Baseball Most Valuable Player Award.
  10. ^ KBO Rookie of the Year. Baseball-Reference.com (Sports Reference LLC). Retrieved 2010-07-02. See also: Chinese Professional Baseball League Rookie of the Year Award and Nippon Professional Baseball Rookie of the Year Award.
  11. ^ KBO Gold Gloves. Baseball-Reference.com (Sports Reference LLC). Retrieved 2010-07-02. See also: Nippon Professional Baseball Mitsui Golden Glove Award and Major League Baseball Gold Glove Award.
  12. ^ Korean Series Most Valuable Player Award. Baseball-Reference.com (Sports Reference LLC). Retrieved 2010-07-02. See also: Major League Baseball World Series MVP Award.
  13. ^ For the KBO League All-Star Game MVP, go to KBO Gold Gloves, scroll to the bottom, and click on All-Star Game MVP. Baseball-Reference.com (Sports Reference LLC). Retrieved 2016-10-13.

External links[edit]