|Born: August 18, 1976|
Daegu, South Korea
|KBO: April 15, 1995, for the Samsung Lions|
|NPB: March 27, 2004, for the Chiba Lotte Marines|
|KBO: October 3, 2017, for the Samsung Lions|
|NPB: October 18, 2011, for the Orix Buffaloes|
|Runs batted in||439|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Revised Romanization||I Seungyeop|
Lee Seung-yuop (born August 18, 1976) is a retired baseball player, who spent most of his career with the Samsung Lions of the KBO League. At the age of 26, he became the youngest professional baseball player in the world to hit 300 home runs. He formerly held the Asian home run record of 56 homers in a season, established in 2003 while playing for the Samsung Lions in the Korean league. The record was broken by Wladimir Balentien of the Tokyo Yakult Swallows, on September 15, 2013, when he hit his 56th and 57th Home Runs of the season against the Hanshin Tigers of the Nippon Professional Baseball League. He holds the KBO records for career home runs, runs scored, RBIs, total bases, slugging percentage and OPS. Combined, across the KBO and NPB, Lee has also recorded more hits than any other native-born Korean player.
Lee started his career with the Samsung Lions of the KBO League in 1995 and played with them for nine seasons. He then played for the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan's Pacific League for two years. He signed a one-year contract with the Yomiuri Giants for 210 million yen, including a 50 million yen signing bonus, for the 2006 season. He batted fourth and played first base there. He explicitly showed interest in making a move to Major League Baseball.
He had a slow start in Japan. Lee hit just 14 home runs and drove in 50 runs while batting .240 in 100 games. In the next season, he greatly improved, making 30 home runs and 82 RBI while batting .260 in 117 games.
He was selected to play for the Korea national baseball team in the inaugural World Baseball Classic in 2006. He batted .333 and led all players in the tournament with 5 home runs and 10 RBI. This has increased speculation that an MLB team might eventually sign him. However, Lee was under contract to play with the Yomiuri Giants for the 2006 season. On 1 August 2006, Lee became only the third professional baseball player to hit 400 career home runs before the age of 30 (others include Sadaharu Oh and Alex Rodriguez). In the 2006 season, he batted .323 with 41 homers.
On August 3, 2006, a report on MLB Radio on XM satellite radio stated that the New York Yankees and Lee had agreed to start negotiations during the offseason after the 2006 regular season. The South Korean daily Chosun Ilbo had reported on July 19 that the Yankees had expressed interest in the slugger.
After the conclusion of the 2006 season, Lee re-signed with the Yomiuri Giants, citing that he wishes to win a Japan Series with the team. However, a clause allowed him to be a free agent if the Giants won the series.
After being released by the Giants at the end of the 2010 season, Lee joined the Orix Buffaloes of the Japan's Pacific League in December 2010.
On 5 December 2011, Lee rejoined his former team Samsung Lions signing a one-year deal.
He played with the Lions until his retirement at age 41 at the end of the 2017 season. Despite his age, Lee hit 143 home runs between 2012 and 2017.
2008 Summer Olympics
Lee played for the South Korean national team in the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. Slowed down by an injury to his left thumb, Lee struggled in the preliminary rounds, limited to 3-for-22 (.136) with two runs batted in and no home runs, before coming alive in the medal round games against Japan and Cuba.
In the semifinal game against Team Japan, Lee hit a dramatic go-ahead two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning off reliever Hitoki Iwase, which proved to be the winning runs in Korea's 6-2 win.
Career statistics in KBO League
Career statistics in NPB
- "Seung-yeop Lee". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved May 26, 2018.
- 이승엽, 400호 홈런 폭발 (in Korean). YTN. 2006-08-01.
- Digital Chosunilbo (English Edition) : Daily News in English About Korea Archived May 14, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
- "Slugger Lee Seung-yeop rejoins former S. Korean team". Korea Herald. 2011-12-05. Retrieved 2011-12-05.
- "Korea clips Cuba to take baseball gold". Reuters. 2008-08-23. Retrieved 2008-08-23.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lee Seung-yuop.|
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- Career statistics and player information from Korea Baseball Organization
- Nippon Professional Baseball career statistics from JapaneseBaseball.com
- South Korea's Lee could be bound for majors[dead link]
- Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill. "Lee Seung-Yeop". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC.
- Lee Seung-yeop baseball cards at Korean Cardboard