Choi Jeong (36-SSG Landers) recently checked his personal career records and encouraged himself by saying, “You’ve been playing hard for a long time.”
At the same time, he admired the seniors above him.
“Coach Lee Seung-yeop and senior Choi Hyung-woo are really great,” Choi said on Friday at SSG Landers Field in Incheon. “I’ve always felt that way, but I realized it again when I saw their career achievements.”
Through 14 days, Choi has 441 home runs, 26 shy of the KBO record of 467 held by Doosan Bears manager Lee Seung-yeop.먹튀검증
He will likely surpass Lee’s record in the 2024 season.
“Even if I surpass his record, I don’t think most fans will feel that a new record has been created,” says Choi, who humbly admits that “even I can’t say ‘I’m the No. 1 KBO player with the most home runs’ after hitting my 468th home run.”
“Lee Seung-yeop hit 467 home runs in the KBO even after playing eight years in Nippon Professional Baseball,” Choi said. “The number of KBO games (1,906 for Lee Seung-yeop and 2,093 for Choi as of 14 days) is much lower than Lee Seung-yeop, and he hit many memorable home runs. Lee is the eternal home run king. This will not change no matter how many home runs I hit.”
SSG Choi Jung
[Image courtesy of SSG Landers. Resale and DB prohibited].
In the RBI category, Choi Hyung-woo (KIA Tigers) has 1,493 and is on pace to break Lee Seung-yeop’s record of 1,498. Choi is the first KBO player to reach 1,500 hits.
Choi ranks fourth overall and second among active players with 1,405 RBIs.
Choi can surpass Lee Seung-yeop’s record next season and reach the 1,500-hit plateau.
Four years younger than Choi Hyung-woo, Choi could one day become the KBO’s all-time RBI leader.
Even when the topic of RBIs comes up, Choi remains humble.
“He overcame difficulties (such as being ejected once) to become the top hitter,” Choi said. “I congratulate him on reaching 1,500 RBIs in advance. Even though it’s a different team, I always thought Choi Hyung-woo was great.”
Choi also draws lessons from the two seniors, Lee Seung-yeop and Choi Hyung-woo.
“Coach Lee still hit more than 20 home runs (24) in his last season,” Choi said. Choi Hyung-woo is still hitting tremendously this year, even though he’s about to turn 40,” Choi said. “Both seniors have kept their guard up and taken stock of themselves. I will not let my guard down until I retire.”
For now, Choi leads the SSG batting lineup with a .295 batting average, 12 home runs, and 38 RBIs. He is second only to Park Dong-won (14 homers-LG Twins) in the home run category.
“Fortunately, I’ve been playing this season without too many ups and downs,” Choi said, “but I still worry about it every day. I want to keep hitting well until the end of the season.”