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Dae-jin Lee

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Dae-jin Lee (이대진)

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 11", Weight 181 lb.

Dae-jin Lee twice led the Korea Baseball Organization in strikeouts.

Lee played for South Korea in the 1992 World Junior Championship. He began his professional career with the 1993 Haitai Tigers, going 10-5 with two saves and a 3.11 ERA in a good rookie campaign. In '94, the right-hander went 7-8 with 3 saves and a 4.20 ERA, his worst season of the 1990s.

For the 1995 Tigers, Lee posted a 14-6, 2.57 record with a KBO-leading 163 strikeouts in 168 1/3 IP; he allowed only 131 hits. The right-hander went 16-8 with 3 saves and a 2.37 ERA in 1996; he gave up just 114 hits in 159 2/3 IP and had a WHIP under 1. He struck out 146. He was two wins behind leader Dae-sung Koo.

Lee was 17-6 with a save and a 3.14 ERA in 1997 and won a Gold Glove as the best pitcher in the league despite not leading in any of the major pitching departments. On May 14, 1998, he had his most notable game, striking out 10 consecutive batters to set the KBO record. He finished the campaign 12-11 with a 3.26 ERA but with 183 K in 179 1/3 IP. He led the KBO in strikeouts, two ahead of Myung-hwan Park.

Lee once fanned 16 batters in a game to tie Dong-yol Sun and Dong-won Choi for the KBO record for a nine-inning game. The mark was broken in 2010 by Hyun-jin Ryu.

The 24-year-old allowed one run in 3 2/3 IP in 1999, his season curtailed by either injury or military service presumably. In 2000, he returned as a reliever, going 8-6 with 13 saves and a 3.17 ERA with 117 strikeouts in 105 innings. A shoulder injury then ended Lee's dominance; he did not pitch in 2001 or 2002.

In 2003, he tried to come back with the Tigers (now the KIA Tigers) but allowed 18 hits and 15 runs in 13 1/3 IP, going 1-1. The next season, he gave up 11 runs in 7 2/3 IP and was 0-1. He did not pitch for the 2005 Tigers and allowed two runs in one inning in 2006.

Lee pitched 17 games in 2007, his most in 7 years. He was 7-6 with a 4.11 ERA. He went 5-10 with a 4.83 ERA in 2008 with 57 walks and just 37 strikeouts in 85 2/3 IP, a shadow of his former self. He was 3-5 with a 6.33 ERA for the Tigers in 2009 when they won the Korean Series (he had also won with them in 1993, 1996 and 1997).

Through 2009, Lee was 100-73 with 22 saves and a 3.49 ERA for his KBO career. He had allowed 1,127 hits in 1,285 innings while striking out 1,066.

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