Choi Hyung-woo (40⋅KIA Tigers), the KBO’s “Living Legend,” is featured on MLB.com. “Nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it. If you don’t give up, a brighter day will come one day,” he taught the United States across the Pacific Ocean.
MLB.com highlighted Choi’s journey to stardom on Sept. 9 (KST). “A former KBO player who was released by his team became a record-breaking player,” the outlet wrote. Vowing revenge, Choi broke the league’s RBI record,” introducing Choi’s career.
Choi Hyung-woo is a living legend in the KBO. Choi was a late-bloomer who rose to stardom after being released early in his career. He was drafted by the Samsung Lions with the 48th overall pick in the second round of the 2002 KBO Draft. But in 2005, Samsung released him. It was Choi’s first trial as a so-so catcher. In six games and eight at-bats, Choi had just seven hits and two walks. He didn’t show any promise as a catcher, and his trials began.
However, Choi showed promise again in the Police Baseball Organization and was reevaluated after moving to the outfield. In 2007, Choi’s potential began to blossom again, as he won seven batting titles in the Futures League and rejoined Samsung, 먹튀검증토토사이트 where his career came into full bloom.
Choi’s career really took off in 2008.
His late-blooming star began in 2008 when he became the oldest rookie ever to win the Korean Baseball Organization’s Rookie of the Year award after batting .276 with 106 hits, 19 home runs, 71 RBIs and an OPS of .851 in 126 games. It was a late career that began at the age of 25, but Choi became known as a wait-and-see type of hitter who combined impact with consistency, leading Samsung to four consecutive pennants and ushering in the era of the first free agent 100 million contract. In 2065 career games, Choi has a .934 batting average with 2323 hits, 373 home runs, 1542 RBIs and an OPS of .934. Choi broke the record for most RBIs in a career, surpassing Lee Seung-yeop, Yang Jun-hyuk, and Lee Dae-ho. He broke the record with a two-run home run against Hanwha in Daejeon on June 20. He is currently the only player to surpass 1,500 RBIs.
MLB.com shared a quote from Choi’s past that he wrote on social media platform Facebook.
At the time, Choi said, “Some people will laugh at me for saying this, but I will definitely come back. He will come back with revenge for those who betrayed me. I will sharpen my sword to destroy this place. I will get my revenge one day,” he wrote.
The medium commented, “This type of writing can only remain wishful thinking. Others may dismiss it as an overflow of emotion. But Choi made it a reality on the field. On June 20, nearly 20 years later, he hit a two-run home run to reach 1,500 RBIs, surpassing legendary slugger Lee Seung-yeop as the all-time RBI record holder.
In an interview with MLB.com, Choi said, “I never dreamed of reaching this milestone in my early days as a professional. Every hit and RBI is really important. I was just focused on producing hits and RBIs. In the past, I never thought this day would come for me.”
MLB.com also talked about his return to Samsung.
It detailed how Samsung president Kim Eung-yong, who was bombing the Futures League after being released from Samsung at the time, pointed to Choi and asked a club employee, “He’s still with us, right?” to which the employee replied, “Yes,” and quickly re-signed him. “It’s too long a story to tell in one interview,” Choi laughed.
However, Choi reflects on his time before he was released, saying, “I might have been a little indifferent to my work ethic when I was going back and forth between the first and second teams before I was released. I was always able to hit and was confident in my abilities, but it was in the Police Baseball Organization that I really put myself down and started working really hard. When I started playing again in the pros, it gave me a chance to prove myself,” he said emphatically.
According to MLB.com, “At 25, Choi was the oldest Rookie of the Year at the time. One could easily say that Samsung made the mistake of giving up on the big man too early, but Choi says he learned and grew a lot while playing for the police baseball team. “I used to put a lot of effort into my swing, but I changed my bad habits and didn’t rely on technology anymore,” he said.
Choi is nearing the end of his career, and it’s time to look back and summarize.
He’s almost 40. After becoming a free agent for the first time after the 2016 season, Choi left Samsung and signed a four-year, 10 billion won contract with KIA. After his four-year deal ended in 2020, he signed a second free agent contract with Kia for three years and 4.7 billion won, and will enter the final season of his contract next year.
He led KIA to the 2017 championship, and even though he was a “championship hitter,” fans continue to support him. Speaking about the fans in the KBO, Choi said, “They are the best. I’m sure there are no fans like them in the major leagues. They are so passionate and always cheer and support me. If you don’t come to a Tigers game and experience it, you can’t understand it,” he said, giving a thumbs-up.
Choi remains one of the most productive hitters in the league. He’s not far behind the competition of younger hitters. It’s unclear how his season ended prematurely in September with a broken collarbone will affect his future, but Choi is determined to do his best for the younger players who look up to him.
“I hope that the path I’ve taken and the emotions I’ve felt will serve as a role model for the younger generation,” he said, “I think nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it. If you don’t give up, a brighter day will come one day,” he said.