Jong-ho Park (박종호)
- Bats Both, Throws Right
- Height 5' 9", Weight 165 lb.
- High School Seongnam High School
Jong-ho Park was named the best second baseman in South Korea three times. He won a batting title and an Olympic Bronze Medal.
Park debuted in 1992 with the LG Twins, hitting .192/~.272/.260 in a backup role. In '93, he became a starter and batted .263/~.332/.392. In 1994, he continued to improve, hitting .260/~.369/.391 with 21 steals (in 31 tries). He won the Gold Glove at second base; in KBO, Gold Gloves go to the best overall performer at each position.
In 1995, Park only played 61 games, batting .251/~.340/.304. The next year, in similarly limited playing time, he hit .219/~.339/.269. LG, obviously displeased with his decline, traded him to the Hyundai Unicorns.
Park hit .229/~.361/.312 his first season with Hyundai, showing only a good batting eye. He turned his career around in 1999, batting .301/~.391/.470. He hit 10 home runs after only hitting 15 in his first seven seasons combined. He stole 13 bases in 16 tries and scored 79 runs.
Park continued his rise in 2000 when he batted .340/~.434/.490. He walked 73 times while only striking out 47 times. He smacked 30 doubles and scored 89 runs. He became the first switch-hitter ever to lead the Korea Baseball Organization in batting average. He had edged out Dong-joo Kim, Ji-man Song and Tilson Brito by .002 in a tight race. He won his second Gold Glove. He also joined Korea for the 2000 Olympics and was their starting second baseman for the event. He hit .303/.425/.303 to lead South Korea in OBP. Hitting second in the Bronze Medal Game, he was the only Korean batter to draw a walk from Daisuke Matsuzaka and one of two (along with Byung-kyu Lee) to reach base twice in the game, as he had one hit in three at-bats. Park also had Korea's only steal in the game. He provided solid defense behind Dae-sung Koo, with 3 assists and no errors, as Korea went on to upset Japan 3-1 to take the Bronze.
In 2001, Park slipped back down, hitting .241/~.332/.340 for Hyndai. He batted .266/~.326/.366 in 2002. He was resurgent in 2003 with a batting line of .293/~.374/.396. He scored a career-high 90 runs that year.
Park became a free agent and signed with the Samsung Lions for 2004. He hit .282/~.353/.370 in 2004 and won his third and last Gold Glove. In '05, he batted .268/~.371/.352. His playing time dropped in 2006 when he hit .238/~.329/.297; it was the 9th straight season he played in 100 or more games but he would not come close again.
In 2007, Park only played 17 games, going 5 for 27 with a walk and 3 doubles. In 2008, he hit .232/~.308/.256 in 33 contests. He returned to the LG Twins as a free agent in 2009 but did not play once in the first month of the season.
Through 2008, Park's career batting line is .270/~.359/.374 in 1,477 games.