If you look for a player who revolutionized the way SSG’s predecessor, SK, reached the top of the Korean Series in 2018, you can’t miss left-hander Kim Tae-hoon (33).
SK finished the 2018 regular season in second place. The fall season began with the playoffs, where they faced Nexen, the predecessor of Kiwoom. The first game was a close affair with seven home runs from both teams.
Game 1 starter Kim Kwang-hyun struggled with five runs in six innings, and Moon Seung-won was shaky with three runs (two earned) in 1⅓ innings. In the end, SK won the game. In the bullpen duel, Kim Tae-hoon pitched one scoreless inning and foreign pitcher Angel Sanchez pitched one scoreless inning.
Kim was perfect from there on out. SK took the first and second games at home against Nexen and dropped the third and fourth games away. However, they bounced back with an 11-10 win in Game 5 to advance to the Korean Series.
After pitching Games 1, 2, and 3, Kim Tae-hoon took the mound in Game 5 and pitched a no-hitter to lead the bullpen. In all, Kim pitched four games in the playoffs and didn’t allow a run in 3⅓ innings.
His performance continued in the Korean Series. He pitched in Games 1, 3, 5, and 6 of the Korean Series. He pitched two scoreless innings in Game 1 against Doosan on November 4, 2018, 1⅔ scoreless innings in Game 3 on November 7, and two scoreless innings in Game 5 on November 10. From the playoffs to Game 3 of the Korean Series, he was “Mr. Zero.
Without him, SK would not have made it to Game 6 of the Korean Series. In Game 6 on Dec. 12, he gave up one run in two innings. Despite his breakdown, “Mr. Zero” went on to pitch four games in the Korean Series, allowing one run in 7⅔ innings.
Kim Tae-hoon was a key contributor to the team’s fourth championship. In the 13th inning of Game 7, he threw a 154-kilometer per hour fastball to end the game and seal the victory for SK. While Kim was on the mound at the end of the game, there were many others who contributed along the way.
But throughout the series, the coverage centered on Kim Tae-hoon, who kept the team scoreless in crucial moments.
Kim finished the 2018 regular season with a 9-3 record, 10 shutouts, and a 3.83 ERA. After winning the Korean Series, he pitched 71 games in the 2019 season, going 4-5 with seven saves, 27 holds, and a 3.88 ERA.
That year, SK lost the top spot in the regular season to Doosan and ended the season without winning a game in the playoffs to Kiwoom, but during the regular season, Kim was a key part of the bullpen. His age may not have been the best factor, but his importance was.
He took the mound as a starter in 2020. After the 2019 season, he was ready to start. But it didn’t work out. Eventually, Kim had to return to his position.
From then on, things didn’t go well. After switching to SSG’s uniform, he was back in the bullpen for the 2021 season and was a key reliever with a 2-4 record and 16 saves, but in 2022, he only made nine first-team appearances.
Tae-hoon Kim, the first overall pick in the 2009 rookie draft after playing for Donggucho, Guri-in Changjo and Guri-in Warehouse, had a tough time. His fastball wasn’t coming up. He tried to recover in Jeju Island, where the camp was held for the second consecutive year during the COVID-19 pandemic. He didn’t do too badly during the camp.
With a disappointing performance, I prepared for the 2023 season. Before the start of spring training, I traveled to Kagoshima, Japan, to prepare for the season with a few juniors, including Yoon Tae-hyun (pitcher) and Choi Jun-woo (infielder).
After the aftermath of COVID-19, they gritted their teeth and worked out from the first camp in Florida to the second camp in Okinawa, Japan. I was trying to recover, but it didn’t happen, and I had to spend the whole season in the second team. Still, the team needed an experienced left-hander, and I had high hopes that he would come back soon because he has big stage experience and is not very sensitive. It was hoped that he would be able to play a key role in the team again.
However, Kim Tae-hoon decided to retire from professional baseball after this season. “After 15 years on the mound in the same uniform, he made a big decision to end his career.스포츠토토
Over the course of 15 seasons, Tae-hoon appeared in 302 games, compiling a record of 18 wins, 64 losses, and 326 strikeouts. In 2018, he became a mainstay in the bullpen, posting a 3.83 ERA with nine wins and 10 shutouts and logging 94 innings, the most of any bullpen pitcher on the team.
“I’m happy to start and finish my career with the best organization. I joined the team with undeserved attention as the first overall pick, but I was disappointed to not live up to expectations due to injuries and poor performance. However, I am happy that I was able to repay the fans’ love a little bit by winning the team title in 2018 and showing my best performance as an individual player. I will never forget the support and cheers I received at the ballpark and keep them in my heart.”
“I’ve been thinking about it for a long time,” Kim Tae-hoon told OSEN, “and I’ve been thinking about it for a long time.” His voice was not heavy. His voice was not heavy: He is preparing for the second act of his life. He’s a fan favorite, and his next move is tied to baseball.
He is preparing for the next step that he can do best. He’s starting a new life as a pitching coach in Incheon, teaching aspiring baseball players.