Chan Ho Park joined the Los Angeles Dodgers he was the pride of Korea

When Chan Ho Park joined the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1994, he was the pride of Korea. Park made the Opening Day roster and was soon sent down to the minors, but went on to become a top pitcher and win 124 games in the majors.

Back then, Koreans would tell Americans they were from Korea when they asked where they were from, and would even say, “Do you know Chan-ho Park?” to help them understand.

Fast forward 30 years. Now, Korean culture has become a global phenomenon. K-pop artists like BTS and Blackpink, as well as Korean dramas and movies like The Squid Game, have made Korea a household name. Now, when you say you’re from Korea, it’s easy to see foreigners talking about K-pop artists like BTS and BLACKPINK, or Korean movies and dramas. If you like soccer, you talk about Son Heung-min. And now baseball is Lee Jung-hoo.

Everyone was surprised. A player who played seven years in the KBO signed a mega contract worth $113 million with a major league team. 토토사이트 The main character is Lee Jung-hoo of Kiwoom Heroes, and the team that signed him was the prestigious San Francisco Giants.

It was a huge contract that no one expected.

In the past, I never dreamed of going straight to the major leagues after playing in the KBO. No matter how good you were in the KBO, the league was not proven, so players who wanted to go to the major leagues would go to Japan first, and then fly to the United States after being recognized there.

Ryu Hyun-jin was the first player to go directly from the KBO to the major leagues. After becoming the KBO’s only Rookie of the Year and MVP in 2006, Ryu was the league’s top pitcher until 2012, when he signed a six-year, $36 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was considered a good deal for the best pitcher in Korea. Ryu later became a free agent and signed a four-year, $80 million deal with the Toronto Blue Jays.

After Ryu, Kang Jeong-ho joined the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2015 and Park Byung-ho joined the Minnesota Twins in 2016, but neither received the same amount of money as Ryu.

In 2021, things were a little different when Kim Ha-seong went to the San Diego Padres, signing a four-year, $28 million deal. While Ryu was paid more in total, Kim was paid more on average, and within three years, Kim had established himself as a major league starter, winning a Gold Glove.

Three years later, it was Lee’s turn. It was thought that he would get more money than Kim. But the response from the United States was overwhelming. There was so much media interest that 20 teams were reportedly in the running. The fact that the media is interested means that teams are interested. Big-market teams, including the New York Yankees, were also paying attention, and the price was rising. Before the news of Lee’s signing broke, there were local reports that the price had risen to $90 million.

I had my doubts, but it was more than that.

On the 13th, local reports surfaced that he had agreed to a six-year, $113 million deal with San Francisco. On the 15th, he passed the medical test and the team made an official announcement, and on the 16th, Lee visited San Francisco’s home stadium, Oracle Park, for an official induction ceremony and press conference.

The $113 million contract is the second largest ever for a Korean player. The first was Shin-Soo Choo’s seven-year, $130 million deal with the Texas Rangers.

The average annualized value of $18.83 million is also second all-time. No. 1 is Ryu Hyun-jin, who signed a four-year, $80 million deal with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2020 ($20 million average).

Now, Ryu Hyun-jin and Kim Ha-seong have shown that you can play in the KBO and still get a good enough contract to go to the major leagues, but Lee Jung-hoo has proven that you can go beyond that and get a top-tier contract in the major leagues.

There may come a day when Koreans will proudly say “Do you know Jung-hoo Lee?” to Americans when they go to the United States. If Jung-hoo Lee is what the fans and San Francisco expect him to be, we could be looking at the second or third KBO player to cross over to the major leagues on a mega-contract.

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