The original “LG Men” who had been holding their breath throughout the baseball world were overwhelmed with emotion after LG beat KT 6-2 on Wednesday to win the Korean Series (KS) for the first time in 29 years, taking the series 4-1.
When contacted, the LG legends sighed, “It took too long,” and said they were proud of their juniors.
Park Yong-taek, 44, a KBS N commentator, said, “I still remember when we lost the sixth game of the 2002 Korean Series (against Samsung) to Ma Hae-young’s game-winning home run (2-4). At the time, I thought, ‘I’ll do it next year,’ but in the end, I didn’t make it to the Korean Series until I retired,” he said, adding, “I’m touched that the fans’ wishes have been fulfilled.”
Park, a former “franchise star” who made his professional debut in 2002 and played exclusively for LG until 2020, constantly challenged to win the Korean Series during his career, but ultimately failed to fulfill his dream and hung up his jersey. His number 33 was permanently retired. Even during LG’s so-called “dark ages” of the 2000s, Park remained committed to the team as a moral support.
“Personally, I’m very envious of the juniors (who won the title),” Park said, adding that the victory was a reward for the fans who showed passionate support and love for the team even during its darkest days. “For players like Oh Ji-hwan and Lim Chan-kyu, 먹튀검증 who were with LG during the dark days, it would be a very sweet victory,” he said, adding, “LG is a team with good (batting) balance, but it is still a bit short of a dynasty without the development of starting pitchers.” He left room for improvement.
Members of the championship team from 29 years ago also expressed their joy.
Lee Jong-yeol, 50, the current Samsung Lions manager who played exclusively for LG from 1991 to 2009, laughed and said, “It took so long,” and added, “It’s so hard to win a championship. When we won the championship 29 years ago, the feeling was extremely good at first, and then it subsided at once. I even felt a little bit of emptiness, but it’s a feeling that every baseball player must experience.”
He’s also looking forward to a good-natured rivalry between LG and Samsung. “I am extremely grateful to my juniors for winning the championship after 29 years. I hope that LG will win more and win more often in the future,” he said, “but I also have mixed feelings that Samsung should do better because I am now the head coach of Samsung. Both Samsung and LG are popular teams. If they do well, the league itself is better. I hope it’s a win-win. I hope LG and Samsung will face off in the Korean Series someday.” Samsung finished eighth in the regular season this year, missing the “fall baseball” stage.
Former LG manager Ryu Ji-hyun, 52, who won the Rookie of the Year award in 1994 and tasted the top of the Korean Series that year, gave a thumbs-up, saying, “As an LG senior, I am very proud.” He took time out of his busy schedule as head coach of the Korean National Baseball Team for the upcoming 2023 Asian Professional Baseball Championship (APBC) to share his thoughts. Ryu is a “one-team man” who played exclusively for LG from 1994 to 2004 before taking the helm in 2021.
“In 1994, we won overwhelmingly (with a four-game sweep), and everyone thought we would win the championship every two years,”
Cha Myung-seok (54), who joined the team in 1992 and pitched for LG until 2001. “But it’s already been 29 years, and I feel a tremendous sense of joy because it’s the championship I wanted so badly.”
“LG, Lotte, and Kia are more popular and have more fans than other teams, so we were criticized a lot and it was hard,” he said, adding, “All of this made me cry.” He couldn’t hold back his emotions. Cha is known for his passion for his company and team. His cell phone rings with the song “I Love LG,” and he doesn’t hide the fact that he only uses original LG appliances.
He was a key player in the 1990 Korean Series victory.
Former LG pitching coach Kim Yong-soo (63), who made his debut in 1985 with LG’s predecessor, MBC Cheongnyong, and was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 1990-1994 Korean Series, said, “Every team wants to win a championship, but the process is really difficult. “I hope LG can win the championship and go on to win the second and third in a row,” he said. During his career, Kim became the first pitcher in baseball to reach the 100-win and 200-save milestone. He is also the first player in LG’s history to have his number permanently retired (41).
“The rewards like the MVP title and the Rolex watch (promised by the team) are good, but I hope he will sacrifice more for the team in the future,” Kim said, “so that the team can achieve better results.”