Jamsil Stadium on the night of the 13th. The LG team was the center of attention. LG won its first Korean Series title in 29 years and enjoyed a moment of emotion.
LG defeated KT 6-2 in Game 5 of the best-of-seven 2023 KBO League Korean Series at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on Wednesday to win the Korean Series with a 4-1 series lead.
After clinching the title, LG players celebrated on the mound. The KT players lined up on the third base side of the foul line and waved goodbye to the KT fans in the third base bleachers.
As the LG players continued to celebrate, LG “Captain” Oh Ji-hwan, who was named the Korean Series MVP, made his way over to the KT squad. He paid a visit to KT’s Park Byung-ho and captain Park Kyung-soo, who fell just short of the championship. He hugged Park Byung-ho, who he played with in the past at LG, and shared a big hug with Park Kyung-soo. It was a heartwarming scene.
Oh Ji-hwan, Park Byung-ho, and Park Kyung-soo were once promising prospects and expectations during the dark days of LG. 먹튀검증 Park was the first LG pick in the 2003 rookie draft, Park Byung-ho was the first LG pick in 2005, and Oh Ji-hwan was the first LG pick in 2009.
However, their time in the LG did not last long.
Park Byung-ho was traded to Nexen (now Kiwoom) on July 31, 2011, after failing to fulfill his potential at Jamsil Stadium. Since then, he has blossomed into his potential and stood tall as the ‘National Geopo’. He made it to the major leagues and returned to Kiwoom to play before becoming a free agent ahead of the 2022 season and moving to KT.
After failing to blossom at LG, Park became a free agent after the 2014 season, signing a four-year contract with KT for a total of 1.82 billion won. Park’s career blossomed with KT. He hit 22 home runs in his first year with the team in the 2015 season and reached double-digit home runs for six consecutive years until 2020. In 2016, he achieved his first triple-digit batting average (3-for-1), and in 2018, he hit a season-high 25 home runs.
Park hit a game-winning two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning of Game 3 in the Korean Series, but it was overshadowed by Oh Ji-hwan’s game-winning three-run shot in the top of the ninth with runners on first and third with two outs.
Other than that home run, Park struggled in the Korean Series, going 2-for-20 with a 1-for-1 slugging percentage and eight strikeouts. His career Korean Series numbers are also poor, going 1-for-6 with four RBIs in 15 games (55 at-bats). This is the third time KT has finished as runners-up in the Korean Series after finishing as runners-up with Nexen in 2014 and Kiwoom in 2019.
KT won its first overall title in 2021.
Park earned his first championship ring and was named the Korean Series MVP. Park Byung-ho, who joined KT after the 2021 season, has yet to win a Korean Series title. KT’s loss in the Korean Series must have been especially painful for Park, as his struggles became more pronounced.
After the hard-fought game, Oh sought out his former teammate to console him and thank him. Heo Do-hwan, who played with KT in 2021 and helped KT win its first Korean Series title, also visited the KT players to say hello. After winning his first Korean Series title with SK in 2018, Heo became part of the winning team with KT in 2021 and LG this year.
When asked at the media day ahead of the Korean Series, “Which LG senior reminds you of the most right now?” He replied, “There are so many, and it’s great to be able to play with (Park) Kyung-soo next to me.” Park smiled and said, “Thank you very much. Even though we have different jersey colors, I’m really happy that we can play together on the best stage. I hope we can have a good time on the best stage without any injuries.”
Despite not winning the Korean Series, KT has had a magical journey this season.
Heading into the season, KT was one of the favorites to win the title, but the team suffered a series of injuries early on. Starting with Pil Seung-jo, Kim Min-soo, Joo Kwon, Choi Byeong-dae, Choi Soo-joon (out for the season), Uhm Sang-baek, Hwang Jae-gyun, Park Byung-ho, Kang Baek-ho, and Choi Soo-ho, the team was never at full strength throughout the season as key players went down with injuries.
KT was in last place at the beginning of June, with a win-loss margin of -14. However, the team started to rebound in June as injured players returned. They went 15-8 in June (1st in the month), 13-6 in July (3rd in the month), and 19-4 in August (1st in the month). In mid-August, they moved into second place and qualified for the playoffs.
In the playoffs, they dropped games 1 and 2 against NC, but they won three straight games from game 3 to complete the third playoff reverse sweep in history. They won the first game of the Korean Series against LG, but the series ended with four straight losses.