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2002 Korean Series

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The 2002 Korean Series was the 20th Korean Series and the first to end with a home run. The Series was expected to be a mismatch, featuring a strong Samsung Lions team against a somewhat-above-average LG Twins squad.

Samsung had won the regular season title at 82-47-4 under manager Eung-yong Kim after finishing second in the 2001 Korean Series. Five of their players won KBO Gold Gloves as the best overall player at their positions: C Kab-yong Jin (.281/.347/.465, 18 HR, 86 RBI), 1B (and KBO MVP) Seung-yeop Lee (.323/.436/.689, 89 BB, a league-high 47 HR, 123 R and 126 RBI), SS Tilson Brito (.283/.355/.499, 25 HR, 90 RBI), 3B Han-soo Kim (.311/.371/.467, 17 HR) and DH Hae-yong Ma (.323/.386/.592, 33 HR, 116 RBI). Narciso Elvira (13-6, 2.50) led the league in ERA and Hyun-wook Kim (10-9, 2 Sv, 2.11), Jang-jin No (11-5, 23 Sv, 2.54) and Chang-yong Lim (17-6, 2 Sv, 3.08) also pitched very well.

LG, under skipper Sung-keun Kim, was 66-61-6 to finish 4th, then upset the Hyundai Unicorns and Hanwha Eagles in the playoffs. None of their players won a Gold Glove or led the league in a key department. Their top hitters were Jae-hyun Kim (.334/.462/.544, 16 HR), Yong-taek Park (.288/.359/.467) and Byung-kyu Lee (.293/.375/.450) while the top pitchers were Mun-seok Chang (10-3, 4 Sv, 1.60), Tim Harikkala (7-2, 18 Sv, 1.68) and Dong-hyun Lee (8-3, 7 Sv, 2.67).

The Series opened November 3 at Daegu Baseball Stadium, with Samsung winning 4-2 at home. Elvira got the win, Min-ki Kim the loss. Dong-woo Kang hit a two-run homer in the 5th to put Samsung ahead and Brito added a solo shot in the 6th. A day later, LG won 3-1 behind Ravelo Manzanillo over Lim. Sang-hoon Lee got the save and In-sung Cho homered for the Twins.

At Jamsil Baseball Stadium November 6, the Lions roared back with a 6-0 win, Young-soo Bae beating Won-ho Choi. They won again, 4-3, on the 7th, with No getting the win and Sang-hoon Lee the loss. Me was 4 for 4 with 3 RBI to lead the offense. On November 8, LG edged out a 8-7 win, with Dong-hyun Lee getting the win, Bae the loss and Chang the save. Ma dazzled in a losing cause, with a two-run homer in the first and a 3-run shot in the 9th.

On November 10, the Series returned to Daegu and Samsung won a dramatic finale, Yong-sik Kang getting the win. Han-lee Park hit a two-run homer for Samsung and Dong-soo Choi a 3-run blast for LG. In the bottom of the 9th, down 9-6, Samsung star Seung-yeop Lee cracked a 3-run homer off former major leaguer Sang-hoon Lee to tie it. Won-ho Choi relieved and allowed a homer to Ma to end it. Ma won the Korean Series MVP.

Source: Korean Wikipedia entry, 2003 Baseball Almanac

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