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Bum-ho Lee

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Bum-ho Lee (이범호)

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 0", Weight 205 lb.

Bum-ho Lee has won two Gold Gloves in the Korea Baseball Organization (through 2006), hit 20 homers 3 different years and also was on the South Korean national team that shone in the first World Baseball Classic.

Lee debuted with the Hanwha Eagles in 2000, hitting .162/~.271/.297 in 69 games, only getting 74 AB. In 2001, he hit .196/~.265/.326 in slightly-increased playing time. Lee batted .260/~.322/.453 in 111 games and 296 AB. In the 2002 Intercontinental Cup, he hit .303/.381/.485 for the South Korean national team. In the Gold Medal game, Lee's solo homer off of José Ibar was South Korea's lone run in a close 2-1 defeat.

In 2003, he hit .238/~.319/.406. The Hanwha infielder produced at a .308/~.374/.536 clip in 2004, emerging as a threat. He hit 23 homers and scored 80 runs.

In 2005, the 23-year-old third baseman batted .273/~.362/.514 and hit 26 homers. He won his first KBO Gold Glove at the hot corner. He only hit .176/.222/.176 for South Korea in the 2006 World Baseball Classic and almost had their lowest OPS by a starter; the team still went 6-1 despite their third baseman's struggles.

Lee hit .257/~.365/.463 with 20 homers in 2006 and drew 72 walks. He won his second Gold Glove at third base. In 2007, he hit .246/~.364/.431 with 77 walks and 21 home runs, tying Tae-kyun Kim for 6th in the league in homers. Lee batted .276/~.377/.470 in the 2008 KBO with 19 home runs and 80 runs. He tied for 5th in homers and was 6th in runs.

Lee was one of the top performers in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, hitting .400/.458/.900 to lead the runner-up South Koreans in average, slugging and OPS. The third baseman (who might only have gotten the nod when Dong-joo Kim backed out) hit 3 home runs and drove home 7 in 8 games. He tied Adrián González, Jin-young Lee, Norichika Aoki and Shuichi Murata for 5th in the tourney in RBI and tied Frederich Cepeda, Adam Dunn, Karim Garcia, Carlos Guillen, Tae-kyun Kim and Kevin Youkilis for the home run lead. He made the All-Tournament team at third base ahead of such players as David Wright, Yulieski Gourriel, Murata and Miguel Tejada. Lee's homers were off Guoqiang Sun, Oliver Perez and Masahiro Tanaka. Lee came up big in the 5-3 loss to Japan in the championship game. Down 3-1 in the 8th, he doubled off Hisashi Iwakuma and came home on a sacrifice fly by Dae-ho Lee. The next inning, he came up with two on and two out against Yu Darvish, and delivered a game-tying single in the clutch.

On April 30, 2009, Lee hit 3 homers and drove in 8 in a 19-9 rout of the LG Twins. This tied the KBO record for RBI in a game. Lee hit .284/.369/.505 in 2009 with 25 home runs and 79 RBI. He tied Jung-kwon Park for 7th in the league in home runs.

Lee signed with Japan's Softbank Hawks for 2010. He debuted on March 20, Opening Day. Hitting sixth and manning DH versus Yu Darvish, he was 0 for 2 and got hit by a pitch. It was a batter start than the other Korean to kick off his NPB career that day, Tae-kyun Kim.

Sources: KBO player page, World Baseball Classic site, IBAF site, Korea Times

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