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Hyo-jo Jang

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Hyo-jo Jang (장효조)

  • Bats Left, Throws Left
  • Height 5' 9", Weight 163 lb.

[edit] Biographical Information

Hyo-jo Jang was a four-time Korea Baseball Organization batting champion and one-time MVP, reigning as the all-time KBO leader in average at the time of the league's 30th anniversary.

Jang had a notable amateur career before the start of pro ball in South Korea. He was on the South Korean national teams that won Bronze in the 1978 Amateur World Series, Silver in the 1980 Amateur World Series and Gold in the 1982 Amateur World Series for a trifecta of medals. In the 1978 Series, he was only 3 for 21 with a double, 3 runs and 3 RBI as Korea's right fielder, but did draw 7 walks. Statistics are unavailable for 1980 and 1982 - in 1982, South Korea won its only Gold in an Amateur World Series.

Jang made his pro debut in 1983 with the Samsung Lions. He hit .369/.475/.618 with 18 homers, 22 steals (in 24 tries), 61 runs and 62 RBI in 92 games. He was among the league leaders in practically everything: average (1st, 19 points ahead of Jong-mo Kim), OBP (1st, 65 points ahead of Jong-mo Kim), slugging (1st, 63 points ahead of Man-soo Lee), runs (61, 2nd, 4 behind Hae-chang Lee), triples (tied for 9th with 3), steals (4th, between Hae-chang Lee and Kwang-eun Lee), walks (58, 1st), hits (117, 1st, 3 ahead of Hae-chang Lee), home runs (tied for 3rd, behind Man-soo Lee and Bong-yun Kim), doubles (tied for 8th with 19) and RBI (3rd) in what would be perhaps his best all-around season. He won a Gold Glove as one of the KBO's top three overall outfielders, alongside Jong-hoon Park and Jong-mo Kim, but lost both Rookie of the Year (to Jong-hoon Park) and MVP (to Man-soo Lee).

Jang batted .324/.424/.498 in 1984 and was among the leaders in average (4th, between Yong-cheol Kim and Jong-mo Kim), runs (56, 4th), hits (100, 8th), doubles (19, 4th), triples (7, tied for second, one off the pace), OBP (1st by 9 points over Mun-jong Hong) and walks (49, 4th). He joined Jong-mo Kim and Mun-jong Hong in being named the Gold Glove outfielders.

In 1985, Jang rebounded from his "off-year" to hit .373/.427/.543 with 11 homers, 66 runs, 65 RBI and 17 steals in 25 tries. He led the KBO in both average (by 31 points over Jong-hoon Park) and OBP (55 points ahead of Man-soo Lee). He was also third in slugging (after Sung-han Kim and Man-soo Lee), tied for 7th in steals, was third in RBI (behind Man-soo Lee and Sung-han Kim), tied Sung-han Kim for second in runs (one behind Soon-chul Lee), was second in hits (129, 4 behind Sung-han Kim), was second in doubles (24, 5 behind Sung-han Kim) and was second with 57 walks (12 behind Koo-seon Jeong). He joined Kwang-eun Lee and Jong-hoon Park in winning Gold Gloves in the outfield, while Sung-han Kim got the MVP.

The Busan native batted .329/.436/.467 with 18 homers and 16 steals (caught 7 times) during the 1986 KBO season. He was among the league leaders in numerous departments, as usual: first in average, first in OBP (39 points ahead of Man-soo Lee), 8th in steals, tied for 5th in runs (55), tied for 6th in doubles (20, even with Mun-jong Hong) and first in walks (59). He, Jong-mo Kim and Kwang-eun Lee won the Gold Gloves in the outfield.

In 1987, he produced at a .387/.461/.493 clip for Samsung and was among the leaders in average (a whopping 43 points ahead of Man-soo Lee), OBP (also first, 30 points ahead of Man-soo Lee), slugging (5th), hits (110, tied for 10th with Jong-mo Kim), triples (tied for 9th with 4) and RBI (58, 6th). Even though it was not his best year, he still won his only KBO MVP, the only player other than Sung-han Kim or Dong-yol Son to win from 1985-1990. Jang was also the first outfielder to win; it would be 8 years before Sang-ho Kim became the second. He also won his fifth and final Gold Glove (the other Gold Glove outfielders being Jong-mo Kim and Kwang-eun Lee again).

The Hanyang alumnus remained a productive player, though. In 1988, the 31/32-year-old hit .314/.419/.413 and was 8th in the league in average, 4th in walks (49) and tied for 4th in OBP (with Man-soo Lee). A year later, he was sold to the Lotte Giants and batted .303/.407/.354, finishing 5th in average and 7th in walks (56). In 1990, he failed to make the league leaders for the first time, with a nondescript .275/.347/.349 batting line.

Hyo-jo had one last big year in 1991 (.347/.452/.488). He was second in the league in average (.001 behind Jeong-hoon Lee), second in triples (two behind Jeong-hoon Lee), 4th in walks (70) and first in OBP (.002 more than Jong-hun Jang) for his 6th OBP title. He did not win a Gold Glove as Kang-don Lee, Soon-chul Lee and Ho-seong Lee got the nods instead. In his final season as a player, 1992, Jang hit .265/.365/.309, a shadow of his former self.

Overall, he hit .331/.430/.459 in 961 KBO games, with 485 runs, 437 RBI and 109 steals. Through 2012, he was easily the all-time KBO leader in average (15 points ahead of Joon-hyuk Yang and Tae-kyun Kim) and 20th in slugging. The KBO website does not list career leaders for OBP as of 2012.

Jang coached for Lotte in 1994 and for Samsung in 2000. He then scouted for Samsung until 2009. He was a minor league coach for the Lions for a couple years before dying of cancer at age 55. Samsung has retired his number 10.

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