Korean baseball surprised the world at the 2006 World Baseball Classic (WBC). It was not comparable to Japan and was known for its ability comparable to that of Taiwan, but at the time, it was a surprise by defeating Japan, the United States, and Mexico. At this time, the myth of the semifinals led to the 2008 Beijing Olympics victory and the 2009 WBC runner-up, leading to the revival of Korean baseball.
17 years have passed, but there is someone who has vivid memories of the time. That is Kim “BK” Byung-hyeon (44). Kim Byung-hyun, whom I recently met at the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Arizona, USA, where the national baseball team is conducting field training, said, “The members of the countries we faced at that time were really great. America had Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, and Japan had Ichiro Suzuki. All of them were players who played in the major leagues with me.” I really wanted to win as much as I represented Korea on the world stage.”
Kim Byung-hyun dropped out of Sungkyunkwan University in 1999 and moved to the United States. He received the largest contract payment (2.25 million dollars) for a Korean amateur player ever, which is still unbreakable, and wore the Arizona Diamondbacks uniform. The following year, with 20 saves, he emerged as the starting finisher, and led Arizona to win the World Series in 2001, becoming a leading closer in the big leagues.
In Kim Byung-hyun’s career, the 2006 WBC cannot be left out. At that time, along with Koo Dae-seong and Park Chan-ho, he was firmly responsible for the back door of the bullpen. He overpowered hitters from around the world with an unstoppable 150 km/h fast ball and a sharp slider.
Kim Byung-hun said, “There were a lot of great major leaguers. But our country also had good members. There were seniors Koo Dae-seong and Park Chan-ho on the mound, and seniors Lee Jong-beom and Lee Seung-yeop were holding out on the field line.” He continued, “I have memories of us getting together well. In particular, with the eldest brother Lee Jong-beom at the head, the unity went well. I think that led to a good result of the quarterfinals,” he added. 스포츠토토
On this day, Kim Byeong-hyeon met and greeted director Lee Kang-cheol, who was also a senior at Gwangju Il High School. Also, in the evening, I prepared a table with juniors such as Lee Eui-ri, Yang Hyeon-jong, and Na Seong-beom and treated me to a meal. It was to inspire support ahead of the WBC to be held next month.
Kim Byeong-hyun said, “I heard that some countries, including Japan and the United States, have good power this time. But don’t be discouraged. I believe that if you play the Taegeuk mark without hesitation, you will get a satisfactory result.”
Lastly, Kim Byeong-hyun said, “In the end, the fight on the mound is important in international competitions. The most important part is the number of pitches pitched by the pitchers. You have to catch out counts quickly with aggressive pitches to effectively solve the game. If the defense is long, the overall atmosphere can sink,” he added, adding advice as an experienced WBC player.