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Jong-tae Park

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Jong-tae Park (박정태)

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 8", Weight 158 lb.

Jong-tae Park was arguably the top South Korean second baseman of the 1990s.

In the 1990 Baseball World Cup, Jong-tae hit .324/.385/.471 for South Korea. Park debuted in 1991 with the Lotte Giants, hitting .285/~.353/.464. He won a Gold Glove, which in South Korea goes to the best all-around player at a position, not just the best defender. He batted .335/~.430/.539 in 1992 and won another Gold Glove; he scored 91 runs and hit 43 doubles and 14 homers. He led the Korea Baseball Organization in doubles.

Park produced at a .359/~.459/.485 rate in 31 games in 1993; presumably, he spent the rest of the season and all of 1994 either in the military or injured.

In 1995, Jong-tae hit .337/~.410/.472 in 50 games. During the 1996 campaign, Park batted .309/~.369/.423 and won a third Gold Glove. In '97, he had a career-worst year, hitting only .229/~.297/.296. He was back in form by 1998, when he hit .318/~.400/.483 and won both a Gold Glove and the All-Star Game MVP. He was third in the KBO in average that season.

Park's last huge year was in 1999. The 30-year-old hit .329/~.417/.452 with a career-high 83 runs and 83 RBI. He finished 7th in the KBO in average. He won his fifth and final Gold Glove and became the second two-time All-Star Game MVP in KBO history. He also helped Korea win a Gold in the 1999 Asian Championship, qualifying them for the 2000 Olympics. Park was named the best defensive player in the event.

Park batted .285/~.364/.381 in 2000. He was not with Korea for the 2000 Olympics as his decline had begun. Park also did not earn favor with the KBO authorities as he was one of the organizers of the Korean Baseball Players Association, an attempt to unionize KBO players.

Park hit .247/~.337/.382 for the 2001 Giants. In 2002, he batted .262/~.356/.401. In '03, he hit .278/~.366/.389 in 72 AB over 50 games. He wrapped up in 2004, going 5 for 18 with 9 walks.

Overall, Park batted .296/~.378/.433 in 1,167 games in the KBO. Through 2005, he was among the career leaders in average (tied for 12th with Man-soo Lee), doubles (18th, 228), hits (34th, 1,141), RBI (21st, 638), runs (39th, 531), triples (tied for 39th, 39) and BB+HBP (35th, 510).

Through 2008, Park holds the KBO record for Gold Gloves at second base.

In 2009, Park is hitting coach for Lotte's minor league team.

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