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Dae-ho Lee

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2009 Bowman Chrome: WBC Refractor #BCW24 Dae-Ho Lee

Dae-ho Lee (Big Boy)

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 4", Weight 286 lb.

[edit] Biographical Information

Dae-ho Lee is a star player for the Lotte Giants and was the second Triple Crown winner in the history of the Korea Baseball Organization.

Lee had a rough childhood. His father died when he was three. Lee's mother remarried and he was raised by his poor grandmother, who passed away while he was in second grade. He focused his energies on baseball and starred in the 2000 World Junior Championships, hitting .500/?/.967. Only Joe Mauer hit for a higher average; Mauer beat him out for the tourney All-Star spot at first base. Lee's 3 homers possibly tied for the tourney lead as well. Lee was picked up by the Lotte Giants as a pitcher.

A shoulder injury forced Lee to move to the field as a first baseman. He was 4 for 8 with a walk as a rookie in 2001. In 74 games in 2002, Dae-ho hit .278/.345/.447; new manager Inn-cheon Baek reportedly disliked using the youngster due to his hefty weight.

In 2003, Lee only hit .243/.327/.362 in 54 games. His playing time and productivity improved in 2004 as he batted .248/.331/.441 with 20 HR in 132 games.

Dae-ho hit .266/.354/.452 with 21 homers in 2005. He won the Korea Baseball Organization All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award.

"Big Boy" emerged as a superstar in 2006. he hit .336/~.410/.571 with 26 HR and 88 RBI to win the Triple Crown. The last player to have done so was Man-soo Lee in 1984. Dae-ho Lee failed to win the MVP award, finishing second to Hyun-jin Ryu in voting for the MVP. He did win a Gold Glove as well.

In 2007, Lee said he did not plan on resting his laurels, feeling a need to compete with friends Tae-gyun Kim and Seung-yeop Lee in terms of performance at the plate. Dae-ho Lee held up Seung-yeop Lee as his role model both in terms of playing baseball and avoiding scandal. Lee set a record for KBO All-Star Game votes that year with 341,244.

Lee hit .335/.453/.600 in 2007. He was third in the KBO in average and OBP, led in slugging and tied Cliff Brumbaugh for second in homers (29) and RBI (87), trailing Jung-soo Shim. He won his second straight Gold Glove.

Lee was 0 for 6 with two walks and three strikeouts in the 2007 Asian Championship. Lee hit .393/.414/.500 with 3 doubles and 8 RBI in the 2008 Final Olympic Qualification Tournament, splitting time between first base, DH and third, having to fill the latter spot after Dong-joo Kim left due to his mother's illness. He tied Jesus Cota for 10th in average. He tied Luke Hughes, Matt Rogelstad, Jimmy Van Ostrand and Kuo-Hui Lo for second in RBI, trailing Seung-yeop Lee. South Korea earned a spot in the 2008 Olympics with their 6-1 record in the event.

Lee was MVP of the 2008 KBO All-Star Game, getting 4 hits including a home run.

"Big Boy" was South Korea's top hitter in the 2008 Olympics, when they won Gold and went unbeaten in 9 contests. Lee hit .360/.515/.760 with 7 walks, 3 homers and 10 RBI, being used mostly at DH. Dae-ho's 2-run homer off Tsuyoshi Wada in the 7th inning was Korea's first blow against Japan in a 5-3 win. He also hit a 2-run homer against Brandon Knight in a one-run win over Team USA and another 2-run shot in a rout of the Dutch national team. Entering the Medal round, Lee was 4th in the 2008 Olympics in average (.429, behind Alexei Bell, Yong-kyu Lee and Tsuyoshi Nishioka), 2nd in slugging (.905, behind Bell), led in home runs (3) and was second in RBI (10, one behind Alfredo Despaigne).

In the 2008 KBO season, Lee hit .301/.400/.478 with 80 walks, 18 homers and 94 RBI in a decline year. He was third in walks behind Young-min Ko and Hyun-soo Kim and was third in RBI behind Dong-joo Kim and Karim Garcia.

Lee was a 3B, DH and PH for South Korea in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, when they finished second. He hit .278/.440/.389. In the championship game, he delivered a pinch-hit 8th-inning sacrifice fly off Hisashi Iwakuma to score Bum-ho Lee and make it 3-2; South Korea tied it in the 9th only to lose in the 10th. In the 2009 KBO season, he hit .293/.377/.531 with 28 home runs and 100 RBI. He finished 8th in slugging, 4th in home runs (behind Sang-hyeon Kim, Hee-seop Choi and Karim Garcia) and tied for third in RBI (with Choi and Roberto Petagine), trailing Sang-hyeon Kim and Hyun-soo Kim). Hee-seop Choi beat him out for the Gold Glove award at first base.

In 2010, Lee homered in nine consecutive games to set a record. By comparison, the Major League record is eight games, set by Dale Long, Don Mattingly, and Ken Griffey Jr.. To that point, Lee was hitting .367/.440/.681 with 38 home runs and 111 RBI in 103 games in his best season yet. Lee finished as the Triple Crown winner with a .364 overage (.014 over Sung-heon Hong), 44 homers (12 more than the runner-up) and 133 RBI (17 more than Hong). He also led with 99 runs, a .444 OBP and a .667 slugging percentage. He won KBO MVP honors, getting 52 of 92 votes, to beat out pitchers Hyun-jin Ryu and Kwang-hyun Kim.

Sources: KBO player page, DongA.com, Korean Wikipedia, IBAF site, 2008 Olympics, World Baseball Classic site

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