Park Jae-hong (baseball)
September 7, 1973 |
Gwangju, South Korea
|April 2, 1996, for the Hyundai Unicorns|
|October 6, 2012, for the SK Wyverns|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Representing South Korea|
|Revised Romanization||Bak Jaehong|
Park Jae-hong (Hangul: 박재홍, Hanja: 朴栽弘; born September 7, 1973 in Gwangju, South Korea) is a South Korean outfielder who currently plays for SK Wyverns in the KBO League. Park is currently considered one of the best five-tool players in the KBO league. He is the first player in the KBO history to have 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in 1996 and the only player to have more than two seasons of 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases, doing so a record three times (1996, 1998 and 2000). He actually did 30-30 in his debut season(1996), the only person to do so until Mike Trout, who did it on 2012.
While attending Gwangu Jaeil High School, Park was a highly regarded right-handed power pitcher. In 1991, he was selected for the South Korean national junior baseball team as a pitcher to compete against the Japan and USA national junior teams at the 3-nation friendly baseball series in California, United States. The Korean team swept all the games with a record of 4-0 and Park drew attention from MLB scouts along with fellow pitchers Park Chan-ho and Lim Sun-dong.
In 1992, upon graduation from high school, Park started to play college baseball at Yonsei University, converting his position to third base. While at Yonsei University, Park led his team to five college championships in four years alongside Lim Sun-dong and Cho In-sung.
In 1993, as a sophomore Park was selected for the South Korea national baseball team and competed in the Asian Baseball Championship held in Perth, Australia. The South Korean team won silver and Park was named to the All-Star Team as a third baseman.
As a senior in 1995, Park helped Yonsei University win the 1995 National College Championship (Spring Season) and was named MVP with Home Run, RBI and Stolen Bases titles. After the 1995 college season, he signed with the Hyundai Phoenix in the Korea Baseball Association amateur league, refusing to join the KBO pro league in order to participate in the 1996 Summer Olympics next year.
Notable international careers
|1993||Australia||Asian Baseball Championship||All-Star (3B)|
|1994||Nicaragua||Baseball World Cup||.293 BA (12-for-41), 11 R|
|1995||Japan||Universiade||.125 BA (2-for-16), 2 SB|
|1995||Japan||Asian Baseball Championship|
After the 1995 KBO season, the Pacific Dolphins based in Incheon was purchased by Hyundai Group due to financial difficulties, and the team was moved before the 1996 season to Suwon and renamed the Hyundai Unicorns. Due to the business relationship between the Phoenix and the Unicorns, five players in the Hyundai Phoenix roster moved to the Hyundai Unicorns and Park eventually decided to join the pro league, signing with the Unicorns in March 1996. In the 1996 KBO season, as a rookie Park become the first player in KBO history to join the 30–30 club. He also won the home run and RBI titles and Golden Glove Awards as an outfielder. After the season, Park was named Rookie of the Year in unanimous vote and runner-up behind Koo Dae-sung of the Hanwha Eagles in the MVP balloting.
Park joined his second 30–30 club in 1998 when he hit 30 home runs and stole a career-high 43 bases. After the season, Park was selected for the South Korea national baseball team and led his team to their first Asian Games gold medal in the baseball tournament, batting .455 with 3 home runs and 12 RBI.
Park joined his third 30–30 club in the 2000 KBO season when he hit 32 home runs and stole 30 bases. Park also won his second RBI title, driving in 115 runs. In September 2000, he competed for South Korea in the 2000 Summer Olympics where they won the bronze medal in the baseball tournament.
Prior to the 2003 season, Park was traded to the Kia Tigers for third baseman Jeong Seong-hoon. In 2003, he had his third .300 plus batting average (.301) season, accumulating 19 home runs, 66 RBI and 14 stolen bases.
In 2004, Park hit his 200th career home run on May 11 to become the tenth player in 22-year KBO history to reach the milestone. However, he had his worst pro season due to injuries, batting a career-low .253 and hitting only 7 home runs and 47 hits in 73 games played.
On July 23, 2005, Park joined the 200-200 club as its first member in KBO history, getting his 200th stolen base of his career.
On April 23, 2009, Park stole his 250th base of his career, and this made him the first member of KBO's 250-250 club.
After the 2011 season, Wyverns offered him the coaching job but he wanted to stay as a player. On November 25, 2011, Wyverns confirmed that he would play for the team one more year.
On October 3, 2012, Park became the seventh player ever to hit 300 home runs. He also became the oldest player to slug 300 home runs when he accomplished the feat at the age of 39 years and 26 days.
Notable international careers
|1998||Thailand||Asian Games||.455 BA (10-for-22), 3 HR, 12 RBI, 9 R|
|1999||South Korea||Asian Baseball Championship||.438 BA (7-for-16), 7 RBI, 3 R
All-Star (OF), RBI title
|2000||Australia||Olympic Games||.182 BA (4-for-22), 1 HR, 5 RBI, 5 R|
|2002||South Korea||Asian Games||.364 BA (8-for-22), 3 RBI, 4 R|
|2003||Japan||Asian Baseball Championship||.455 BA (5-for-11), 3 RBI|
|2006||Qatar||Asian Games||.000 BA (0-for-7)|
- Career statistics and player information from Korea Baseball Organization (in Korean)
- Kim, Hee-Joon (25 January 2013). ""보이지 않는 벽을 느꼈다" 박재홍, 눈물의 은퇴" [Park announced his retirement]. Newsis (in Korean). Retrieved 18 May 2013.