Rubber Arm’ Jung Woo-ram (38-Hanwha Eagles) is on the verge of breaking an all-time KBO record. Even his manager, who was a player on the other team and a coach, can’t help but be impressed.
Jung is on pace to become the first pitcher in KBO history to appear in 1,000 games. As of Sept. 30, he had appeared in 999 career games, compiling a 64-47 record, 197 saves, 145 holds and a 3.17 ERA. He began his professional career with the SK Wyverns in 2004, appearing in two games that year before breaking out in 2005 with 59 appearances.
Thanks to his strict self-management, Jung has pitched 50 or more games in 14 of his 18 seasons in the KBO. In 2008, he set the record for most games pitched in a season (85), and in 2006, he added 82 games. From 2008 to 2021, he pitched in 50 games in 12 consecutive seasons.
Jung holds a number of other records, including being the youngest player to reach 500, 600, 700, 800, and 900 games played. Notably, there are currently no active players who can match his record. Jin Hae-soo (LG, 789 games), who has played the next most games, is on the verge of becoming the fifth player in history to reach 800 games, but he is one year older than Jung and hasn’t played a first-team game since June of this year.
Jin is followed by Woo Kyu-min (Samsung, 755 games), Song Eun-beom (LG, 680 games), and Oh Seung-hwan (Samsung, 662 games). However, these players are already in their late 30s and early 40s and are more than 200 games behind Chung. 카지노사이트
Hanwha coach Choi Won-ho, 50, recently commented on Chung’s record, saying, “In this day and age, it’s unbelievable. It’s amazing,” he said in admiration. Choi, who retired from the game in 2010, watched Chung’s prime from the opposite end of the spectrum. When Choi came to Hanwha in 2021, the two became one in the same.
“It’s a record because I’ve thrown a lot of pitches in the past,” Choi said, “but even at that level of play, (Jung) didn’t have a long absence.” In fact, from 2005, when he began his first-team career, until last year, when a shoulder injury limited him to 23 games, Jung had never had surgery that required a long layoff.
“Just being able to play so consistently is really great, and it’s worthy of respect from other players,” Choi said. “I think it sends a great message to the younger generation who are quick to give up,” he added.
In fact, when he was younger, Jung had a high strikeout rate. In 2006, he walked 5.2 batters per nine innings, spiking to 6.9 the following year. But by 2010 (3.8), he was allowing fewer walks. By 2012, he was walking just 1.7 batters per nine innings. “When I was younger, my pitches weren’t that bad,” Choi said, “but as I played, I got better at it. When I was younger, I pitched with power, but now I’ve gotten better as my career has progressed.”
Even Jung Woo-ram, a man of steel, hasn’t been able to resist the passage of time. He has appeared in 47 games this season, going 1-8 with a 5.40 ERA. Against Sasik Lotte on Sept. 29, he pitched the bottom of the fifth inning, but after getting one out, he gave up back-to-back hits to Jeon Jun-woo and Jeong Hoon.
“After playing so many games, I’m getting older and my body is not normal, so I’m having a hard time in various ways,” Choi said, adding, “It’s a challenge that everyone has to accept.”
Choi is confident that Jung’s record will not be broken anytime soon. “It’s not easy to pitch 1,000 games. I used to get a lot of awards for 500 games, but 1,000 games is really hard to come by,” he said.