The KBO league veteran’s life is getting longer. This year, there are more veterans in their 40s.헤라카지노
In 1982, when professional baseball was launched, most players retired when they were from the age of 30 to 32. Baek In-cheon, who recorded the batting average of .400 (0.412) in the first year of his professional career, was a special case. As he hurriedly created a professional team, 39-year-old Baek, who had experienced Japanese professional baseball, played as a manager and player in Korea.
The 1990s was not much different, either. By the age of 35, he almost had to take off his uniform. Of course, there were pitchers like Park Cheol-soon who threw balls after the age of 40, but Park was an exceptional case in which he returned to the mound after serving as a playing coach and a first-tier pitching coach.
Song Jin-woo’s record as the oldest pitcher to take the mound has yet to be broken. Song, who was born in 1966, threw the ball at the age of 43 years, seven months and seven days in a match against LG in Daejeon on Sept. 23, 2009.
Not long ago, playing in the field at age 40 was a very special occasion. However, there are a number of players in their 40s including Choo Shin-soo (SSG Landers), Oh Seung-hwan (Samsung Lions), Kim Kang-min (Hanwha Eagles), Choi Hyung-woo (KIA Tigers), Ko Hyo-joon (SSG), and Noh Kyung-eun (SSG) this season.
There are various reasons why a player’s life has been extended. The first factor is due to the free agent (FA) system. When the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) introduced the FA system in 1999, players became more responsible. In addition, they were treated according to their skills. In the past, even if they were older than retirement, they would receive financial rewards if they showed their value as players. In the past, players lacked self-management, such as enjoying drinking alcohol. They knew that drinking alcohol would prevent them from playing for a long time, but not many people declined drinking alcohol. After the introduction of the FA system, drinking culture has disappeared a lot. Players began to take care of their bodies.
In the early days, the KBO League was launched by attracting unemployed players. As professional baseball took root, players from the business world were pushed out of the competition and retired one by one. During this period, coaches were scarce as the size of the second division grew. Eventually, players in their 30s started their new baseball lives as coaches after retirement. The atmosphere of the club trying to quickly clean up veteran players also played a role.
It is different now. Choo Shin-soo, a former Major League Baseball player, is still showing off his excellent skills and challenging himself to become the oldest player to hit and play in this season. Oh, who recently signed a two-year FA contract with Samsung, became the oldest relief pitcher in 2022 and made 30 saves last year as well.
Kim Kang-min displayed robust performance by winning the KS MVP based on his decisive performance in the 2022 Korean Series. Choi set the record for most RBIs. Noh Kyung-eun achieved the oldest 30 holds last year, and Ko Hyo-joon will also play as a left-handed must-winner. Their heyday is over, but they are in their twilight years.
Professional players demonstrate their skills, not age. Players in their 40s are demonstrating that age is just a number on the ground. In addition, the fact that veterans continue to play means a lack of talented juniors and a decline in the quality of the KBO League.
I’m more curious than ever about the performance of veterans in their 40s and the challenges of young players to overcome them.