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2004 Korean Series

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The 2004 Korean Series was the 22nd Korean Series. The Hyundai Unicorns won their 4th Series in 7 years, though it would be their final title. They beat the Samsung Lions 4 games to 2, with 3 ties, in a Series that drew criticism for not adjusting the KBO tie rule (12 innings or too long duration in time) for postseason play.

Hyundai had the best regular-season record in the 2004 KBO at 75-53-5 under manager Jae-bak Kim. They had two players who were named best at their position in SS Jin-man Park (.286/.365/.445, 17 HR) and Cliff Brumbaugh (.343/.468/.608, 33 HR, 105 RBI, the league leader in average). Jong-soo Shim (.256/.385/.480, 22 HR) and Ji-man Song (.265/.360/.444, 22 HR), provided extra power while Jun-ho Jeon (.292/.377/.366) led the league with 53 steals. Mike Fyhrie (16-6, 3.32) was their top starter while Yong-joon Cho (10-3, 34 Sv, 2.23) was a strong closer.

Samsung was 73-52-8 in the regular season, good for second place, then topped the Doosan Bears 3 games to 2 in the playoffs. They were managed by Eung-ryong Kim and boasted five players named the tops at their positions: P Young-soo Bae (17-2, 2.61), 1B Joon-hyuk Yang (.315/.434/.553, 28 HR, 95 R, 107 RBI), 2B Jong-ho Park (.282/.350/.377), 3B Han-soo Kim (.271/.335/.432, 16 HR) and OF Han-lee Park (.310/.397/.465). Another good offensive source was C Kab-yong Jin (.278/.344/.487, 24 HR). On the mound, Chang-yong Lim (2-4, 36 Sv, 2.01) and Oh-joon Kwon (11-5, 2 Sv, 3.23) helped out Bae.

The Series began on October 21 at Suwon Baseball Stadium, with Hyundai winning 6-2. Fyhrie became the first American to pick up the win in a Korean Series game, the only blemishes being back-to-back homers in the 6th by Yang and Mendy Lopez. Bae took the loss, while Cho got the save. In game two, on October 22, the teams had their first tie, a 8-8, 12-inning affair due to the four-hour limit rule. Hyundai had four homers with two by Ji-man Song and one apiece by Brumbaugh and Dong-soo Kim.

On October 24, Samsung tied the Series with a 8-3 victory. Ji-woong Kim got the victory while Soo-kyung Kim was handed the loss. The Lions got three more homers, by Yang, Han-soo Kim and Jong-hun Kim. The teams tied again during game 4, a scoreless 12-inning battle. Bae tossed a 10-inning no-hitter only to finish with a no-decision.

The final five games were all played at Jamsil Stadium. On October 27, the Unicorns took a 2-1-2 Series lead. Jae-young Oh got the 4-1 win over Kevin Hodges, who became the first American to lose a Korean Series game. Jong-soo Shim's three-run dinger in the first was the big blow. The next day, Samsung tied it up with a 1-0, bottom-of-the-9th win. Kwon got the victory while Chul-in Shin took the loss.

The teams tied for a third time, 6-6, on October 29. Jun-ho Jeon became the first player to steal home in a Korean Series game. On the 30th, Hyundai won a 3-2 decision, Chul-in Shin beating Bae with Cho getting the save; after a 17-2 regular season, Bae was now 0-2 in the Series. Samsung had been leading 2-1 until Keun-pyo Jeon hit a two-run homer in the 7th. On November 1, Hyundai eked out a 8-7 win, scoring all their runs in the second with Samsung pecking away at the lead the rest of the game. Shin got another win and Cho another save (he would be named Korean Series MVP) while Ji-woong Kim was handed the loss.

Primary Source: Korean Wikipedia entry

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