It’s ‘romantic’. Veterans don’t die. They show up when it counts and save the team. No amount of praise seems to be enough. Doosan’s Jang Won-jun (38) and Kim Jae-ho (38), who were said to be “done,” made their presence felt.
Kim Jae-ho started at shortstop in the No. 9 spot in the lineup for the final game of a three-game midweek series against Samsung in the 2023 KBO League regular season at Jamsil Stadium on the 25th, going 1-for-2 with a run scored and a walk.스포츠토토
He had the game-winning hit in the 11th inning. With the score tied 3-3 and two outs in the bottom of the 11th inning, he lined a single to left field to give his team a 4-3 victory. Beamed after the hit.
It was the 14th game-winning hit in the league this season and the 1260th of his career. It is the fourth for an individual. It had been 1083 days since his last hit against the Jamsil KIA on 6 June 2020.
After all the hard work, it came, and it came right. It was a tense situation. It was a game that could have been lost. It’s no exaggeration to say that Kim Jae-ho pulled the entire Doosan out of the mire.
On the 23rd, Jang Won-jun flew. He started the first game of the midweek series against Samsung and pitched five innings of seven-hit ball, striking out four and giving up four runs.
It was his first start in 958 days and his first win in 1844 days. wrote “drama He became the 11th pitcher in history and the fourth left-hander to reach 130 career wins. He became the oldest left-hander to win 130 games at 37 years, 9 months, and 22 days.
Reigned as the league’s leading left-handed starter. Won 10 or more games in eight consecutive seasons from 2008 to 2017 (excluding military service). He was a key part of Doosan’s back-to-back Korean Series titles in 2015 and 2016.
He went downhill from 2018 onwards. He appeared in only six games in 2019 and two in 2020. In 2021 and 2022, he played 32 and 27 games, respectively, but was not satisfied.
He suffered from various injuries and underwent surgery. His batting average dropped and his pitches didn’t work. The phrase “Jang Won-jun is done” was heard over and over again.
Still, he kept quiet and prepared. When his chance came, he pitched like a champ. Four runs in five innings is hardly a stellar performance, but thanks to Jang Won-jun, Doosan was able to secure a 7-5 victory.
After the game, Jang said, “I just thought about not leaving any regrets. I was thinking, ‘I’d rather throw to the middle and get a home run than dodge and give up a walk. I thought it was better to stop when I realised it wasn’t working,” he explained.
Kim Jae-ho was also emotional. “I’ve been trying for years to win one game, and I saw it from the sidelines. I threw too much, and it was natural for my body to break down. I felt sorry for him, and I thought, ‘I really need to emulate him,'” he said.
“He’s a friend, but as an athlete, he really needs to learn. I wanted to congratulate him, but my situation was different, and I couldn’t do it in front of him. I did it behind his back,” he added, laughing.
Kim Jae-ho himself had a tough time: “My batting was thorny. I was trying to recover somehow. My body wasn’t the same. I got caught up in how a player with an injury can overcome it. When I didn’t produce results, I was forgotten. I was criticised a lot,” he said.
“My self-esteem dropped so much, but I thought I would find my confidence this year. It started in camp. It didn’t go well in the beginning. I think I’ve found it to a certain extent now. I think it’s good. I wonder if there will be another day like this,” he smiled.
There’s no turning back now. “Even if I don’t do well, I want to be a player who sticks around. If you look at the seniors of the Bears, there are many cases where they don’t compete until the end and leave after being in the second team. I don’t want to be like that. I want to be on the field until the end, and I want to finish,” he emphasised.
Jang Won-jun and Kim Jae-ho feel the same way. “They don’t want to be left behind and quit. That’s why they didn’t let go of the ball and didn’t let go of the bat.
Coach Lee Seung-yup said, “I want the veterans to do well. They are the leaders of the team. They can be a source of strength in the dugout.” He himself played until the age of 41. “I know how they feel. He’s a great supporter.
His glory days are behind him, but his “class” isn’t going anywhere. His body may not be what it used to be, but his abilities are still there. Romantic baseball is here. That’s why baseball is beautiful.