Choo Shin-soo (SSG Landers) was one of Korea’s leading Major Leaguers. Choo, who dreamed of becoming a baseball player in the U.S. after graduating from Busan Suyeong Elementary School, Busan Middle School, and Busan High School, played in the big league for 16 years from 2005 to 2020, and especially achieved 20 home runs and 20 steals in 2009-2010 and 2013. In 2018, when he was playing for the Texas Rangers, he was happy to be selected as an All-Star for the first time since his debut in the big league.
Numerous setbacks and trials existed behind Choo’s splendid days. Choo spent most of his time in the Minor League from 2001 to 2005, and would not have developed his talent for a while even after his big league debut. Without such time, however, Choo would not have been able to do so today.헤라카지노도메인
During an interview with reporters at SSG Landers Field in Incheon on Tuesday, Choo recalled his past. “As life in the Minor League is very different (from Korea), it is so hard to leave money. I feel like I am alone on a desert island. I was lonely and I cried a lot,” he said. “Now that I think about it, I have learned how to deal with players after seven years.”
“In the case of the Major League, it is very difficult to get close to players because they have already reached a certain position, but in the Minor League, they sleep together and ride the bus together for more than 10 hours,” he said. “People have different races and colors of skin, and they think differently, so even if they say the same thing, they cannot say the same thing. So when you are in the Minor League, you don’t have to say ‘you claim’ like in Korea, but you naturally make a player a leader. The same goes for the Major League. I think I learned how to get close to players by communicating like that.”
Choo, who has had many career experiences in the U.S., has been closely watching his favorite players. Then, what do you think of Lee Jung-hoo (San Francisco Giants), the “grandchild of the wind,” who is about to make his big league debut.
Choo Shin-soo, who watched Lee Jung-hoo’s play in the KBO League for three years from 2021, said, “I don’t think there’s an exact answer,” but added, “But what I can say with confidence is that I’m more likely to go (to the U.S.) and do well than any other player I’ve ever seen.”
“I can never say that (a player) will do well in the U.S. There are a lot of incredible players, and the average (in the league) is too high. We cannot divide the levels. They are all similar,” he said. “In Korea, Lee Jung-hoo is much younger than me, but given his actions, calmness, and personality, he is more likely than any other players to challenge the U.S..”
Other big leaguers who were asked about Lee Jung-hoo’s big league challenge last year gave similar answers.
“Awesome Kim” Kim Ha-sung (San Diego Padres), who once played for Kiwoom, said when asked about Lee Jung-hoo when he returned home in October, “Actually, I don’t have much advice for Lee Jung-hoo. Since I think he is such a close hitter, I think there will be a good result if he sees a lot of Major League pitchers’ pitches from spring camp and adapts himself,” he said. “Jung-hoo is a player who can hit, defend and run on base. That’s his strength, and even if he competes with foreign players enough, he won’t be behind. I hope he goes to a place where he does well and shows a good performance,” he said, wishing for good performance.
Choi Ji-man, another big leaguer, said ahead of the charity baseball competition of the Yang Joon-hyuk Baseball Foundation 2023 “Adding Hope” held at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on Nov. 26 last year, “Lee Jung-hoo is such a good player. To be honest, I’ve never seen him in person, so I’m cautious about whether I’ll succeed or not, and it’ll be a burden to the players as well. (Kim) Ha-sung also had a hard time in his first or second year, but I think he needs to see it for a long time. In that sense, I think I will definitely succeed. If I adjust to the league faster than putting on good performances in the first year, I think my performance will naturally follow,” giving a high evaluation to Lee Jung-hoo.
Lee Jung-hoo, who knocked on the door of the big league with the posting system (closed competitive bidding), signed a six-year, $113 million contract with the San Francisco Giants on December 13 last year. Less than two weeks after the posting began, he quickly concluded, and went through both physical examinations and joining press conferences before the year passed.
However, local media in the U.S. are cynical about San Francisco, which has strengthened its power by recruiting Lee Jung-hoo. CBS Sports, a U.S. media outlet, classified San Francisco’s off-season into five grades including A-D and F on Sunday. The assessment was closer to failing than passing.
The following day, the Major League’s official website MLB.com said, “It was the same as when we failed to recruit Aaron Judge and Carlos Correa, who were the best FA players in the last off-season,” adding, “San Francisco has embraced Korea’s star center fielder Lee Jung-hoo, but it has lost a lot of power. The team that recorded 79 wins (last season) seems to need more.” This means that it is practically difficult to expect a big change just by recruiting Lee Jung-hoo.
As such, Lee carries heavy responsibility. When asked about his goal during a press conference for his arrival in Korea last month, Lee said, “If you do your best day by day, you will get good results. (The goal) is a matter to go back and think about,” and vowed, “I don’t think I’ll set a goal from the beginning, and I hope it will help my team win.”
With seniors who have already experienced the big league stage, attention is being paid to whether Lee Jung-hoo will be able to prove his ability.