At Hanbat Gymnasium next to Hanwha Life Eagles Park in Daejeon on Wednesday, Kim Kang-min (42), the oldest active player, appeared after 11 a.m. to mark the day of profile photo-taking and supply of equipment for the Hanwha Eagles in the new season. Just in time, Ahn Chi-hong (34), another player, was also bringing new supplies. Kim Kang-min who found Ahn Chi-hong was greatly pleased. He hugged Ahn and smiled, saying, “I’m playing baseball with you.”
No one would have known that the two players would be on the same team with the Hanwha Eagles. In 2009, the legendary Korean Series, Kim Kang-min wore an SK uniform and An Chi-hong wore an KIA uniform and fought as enemies. Kim Kang-min was a legend in the history of the Incheon baseball that led to the SK-SSG, and spent 23 years as a one-club man, while An Chi-hong left KIA where he worked for 11 years, moved to Lotte as a free agent, and played for the last four years.헤라카지노주소
The two players, who had little contact with each other, moved to Hanwha side by side ahead of this season. Ahn Chi-hong, who acquired his second FA qualification, came to Hanwha first on Nov. 20 last year when he signed a contract of up to 7.2 billion won for 4+2 years. In the second draft held two days later, Kim Kang-min was selected 22nd overall in the fourth round and moved to Hanwha. As Kim Kang-min, who could have announced his retirement from Hanwha, accepted the transfer, Ahn became a team with Ahn.
Kim took a profile picture wearing a Hanwha uniform for the first time on the day. His uniform number 0 was empty at Hanwha, which was the symbol of the SSG era, but he chose a new one. An Chi-hong, who used No. 8 during the KIA season and No. 13 during the Lotte season, also picked No. 3 from Hanwha. Catcher Lee Jae-won (36), who voluntarily moved to Hanwha after being released from SSG, also made his debut wearing a new uniform emblazoned with No. 32.
Looking at the three players, Lee Myung-ki (37), an outfielder of the Hanwha Eagles, also had unique sentiments. Lee, who joined the SK Wyverns in 2006, was traded to the Kia Tigers in April 2017 and played with Ahn Chi-hong until July 2019.
“I didn’t expect this, but I ended up playing with my old teammates. This season will be fun,” Lee said. “When I heard that Kang Min-hyung and Jae-won are playing together at Hanwha, I felt something. Kang gave up a lot. He came to play baseball at an age that would not be strange even after retirement. Jae-won also played well in SSG for a long time, but he gave up a lot. He came here with passion to play baseball more. Watching that, I was also encouraged and motivated.
Recently, Lee has also been working out with Kim Kang-min in Incheon. “When I see him working out next to me, I can see why he is still playing until that age,” Lee said. “If I were me, it would not have been easy to move the team. I have a lot to feel,” he said, adding that he was deeply impressed by Kim’s decision to give up his one-club career and take on a new challenge as a player.
It is also nice to meet Ahn Chi-hong again. “I got along well with Chi-hong in KIA. Chi-hong is a bit introverted, but I think I need to take good care of him here,” Lee said with a smile. “At the end of my career, I had an opportunity to play again with my favorite players. I hope my team wins a lot so that the fun doubles.”
“The contract with Hanwha hasn’t been decided yet (before the second draft), and I was surprised to hear that Kang Min-hyung came to Hanwha,” Lee Jae-won recalled. “I was wondering if he would become the best player in the team along with Myung-myung when he went to Hanwha. Suddenly, Kang Min-hyung came. It’s good to have his favorite brother here. I feel fortunate. I think I can adapt well to the team with him.”