“Hello, I’m the grandson of the wind from Korea,” says Lee Jeong-hoo

Lee Jung-hoo, 25, has taken his first step as a major leaguer after signing a mega-contract with the San Francisco Giants. He expressed his ambition to “become a player who can bring victory to San Francisco.”

The Giants held an induction ceremony for Lee at Oracle Park in California, U.S., on Nov. 15 (local time).

“Lee is one of the best players in the KBO and we have been following his development for a long time,” said San Francisco team president Farhan Zaidi. “He had a great performance at this year’s World Baseball Classic and we had the opportunity to scout him this time.”

Introducing himself in English as “Hello Giants, my name is Lee Jung-hoo,” Lee continued in English, “I am the ‘grandson of the wind’ from Korea. I want to thank the San Francisco ownership family and my agent, Scott Boras, for signing me.”

“I also want to thank my father and mother. I’m happy to fulfill my dream of playing in the major leagues.” “I came here to win. Let’s go Giants,” he said.

Lee’s father is former LG Twins coach Lee Jong-beom, who was known as the “Son of the Wind” during his playing days. Lee’s nickname is a natural extension of that. Lee Jong-bum attended his son’s induction ceremony with his wife, Jung Yeon-hee.

He received a hat and jersey with the letters “SF” on it from Zaidi. The jersey featured the number 51 that Lee wore for the KBO’s Kiwoom Heroes. When he wore the San Francisco jersey, Lee took the time to ask him, “Handsome?”

“San Francisco is a long-established team with a lot of history and legendary players,” Lee said, “and I’m honored to be chosen by them to play for them.”

“I want to be a player who can bring victory to the team, and I intend to give my all for the team to win,” he emphasized.

Speaking to reporters at the induction ceremony, Lee Jong-beom said, “I think Jeong-hoo will do well enough because he is young and has energy,” adding, “If he prepares well for the rest of the season, including spring training, and studies what he needs to do, he will be able to perform well.”

In particular, he advised that it is important to eliminate fear of new environments.

“I would say it’s important not to hang your head if you fail,” he said, emphasizing that you should be fearless.

“I was fearless when I was his age,” he said, “and I’m sure he’ll be the same way.” Lee Jong-beom also played for the Junichi Dragons in Japan from 1998 to 2001.

“You will be overwhelmed by your opponent’s physical condition, but if you show your skills, you will get good results,” he said optimistically.

“I want to tell them to invest the first year in adapting unconditionally because I signed a long-term contract,” said Lee Jong-beom. “You will need a humorous personality that can approach and talk to the team first, not your skills.”

Earlier, the Giants announced on Thursday that they had “signed Jung-hoo Lee to a six-year, $113 million contract with a player option for a total of $146.2 million, which includes an opt-out clause after the 2027 season.”

Lee’s first season in the big leagues (2024) will be worth $7 million. He then earns $16 million in 2025, $22 million in 2026 and 2027, and $20.5 million in 2028 and 2029. There is a $5 million signing bonus.

In addition, Lee plans to “donate $565,000 over the course of the contract.”

Lee broke the record for the most money ever paid to a Korean player in Major League Baseball with his posting (a sealed bid system used by professional baseball players to reach the major leagues).

The previous largest posting contract for a South Korean player was for Ryu Hyun-jin, who signed a six-year, $36 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2013, averaging $6 million per year. It was the first time a Korean player went directly from the Korean Professional Baseball League to the US Major Leagues.

Among hitters, Lee’s close senior, Kim Ha-seong (San Diego Padres), signed a four-year, $28 million contract ($7 million per year average) with San Diego in 2021. His average annual guaranteed value is higher than Ryu’s.