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Ji-hyun Yoo

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Ji-hyun Yoo (유지현)

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 9", Weight 154 lb.

Ji-hyun Yoo played 11 years in the Korea Baseball Organization then became a coach.

Yoo was South Korea's starting second baseman in the 1991 Intercontinental Cup because Jong-beom Lee manned short. Yoo hit .217/.375/.217 in the event and stole 4 bases in 6 tries. Yoo made his debut with the LG Twins in 1994, hitting .305/~.395/.440 with 15 homers, 51 steals in 61 tries and 109 runs. He won the KBO Rookie of the Year Award. He was four runs behind KBO leader Jong-beom Lee and well behind Lee in steals. He helped LG win the Korean Series.

In 1995, Ji-hyun hit .305/~.425/.352 in 64 games and stole 33 bases in 40 tries. During 1996, he batted .249/~.365/.335 and swiped 24 bases in 31 attempts. In 1997, he hit .269/~.367/.347 and stole 44 bases while being caught only 11 times. He was still 20 steals behind Jong-beom Lee for the lead, though he did rank second in the circuit. Yoo was named the All-Star Game MVP.

In the 1998 season, the Seoul native produced at a .277/~.378/.433 rate with 36 doubles, 40 steals (in 47 tries) and 77 walks. He won the Gold Glove at shortstop, which in Korea goes to the best all-around player by position. It probably helped his cause that Jong-beom Lee had left for Japan; Lee had dominated the KBO Gold Glove at shortstop, winning four of the prior five awards.

Yoo continued to star in 1999 with a .303/~.397/.478 batting line. He only stole 14 bases in 24 tries, but again won a Gold Glove. He then starred in the 1999 Asian Championship, in which he was named to the All-Tournament team at shortstop and helped Korea win Gold, qualifying them for the 2000 Olympics (when they would take home a Bronze Medal).

In 2000, Ji-hyun batted .281/~.375/.376, stole 25 bases in 34 tries and scored 97 runs, 12 behind league leader Seung-yeop Lee. He hit .283/~.413/.411 with 99 walks, 90 runs and 21 steals in 28 tries during 2001. Yoo batted .310/~.385/.380 and stole 21 bases in 30 attempts for the 2002 Twins.

The veteran hit .234/~.308/.263 with 23 steals while being caught 8 times in 2003. He finished his playing career the next year, only batting .152/~.222/.152 in 16 contests.

In 11 seasons, Yoo hit .280/~.380/.383 in 1,108 games. He stole 296 bases in 381 tries, walked or was hit by pitch 650 times and scored 719 runs. Through 2005, he ranked 32nd in KBO history in average, tied for 35th (with Man-soo Lee) in doubles (193), 35th in hits (1,134), 15th in runs, 15th in BB+HBP and 6th in steals, right behind another former Twin, Il-kwon Kim.

Yoo became an assistant coach for LG in 2005, a role he still holds as of 2009. He also was an assistant coach for the South Korean team in the 2006 World Baseball Classic.

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