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Joon-hyuk Yang

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Joon-hyuk Yang
Personal information
Date of birth May 26, 1969 (age 45)
Place of birth South Korea
Vital information
Bats Left
Throws Left
Height   0  (0 {{#ifeq:yes|no|m)
Weight 95 kg (209 lb)
Other information
University Yeungnam University
Playing career
1993-present Flag of South Korea KOR Korea Baseball Organization
Joon-hyuk Yang
Korean
Hangul: 양준혁
Hanja: 梁埈赫

Revised Romanization: Yang Jun-hyeok
McCune-Reischauer: Yang Chun-hyŏk

Jun-hyeok Yang is a sixteen-year veteran outfielder in the Korea Baseball Organization, having played thirteen years for the Samsung Lions. He is the current career leader in hits, runs scored, home runs, RBI, total bases and walks. He won the Rookie of the Year Award in his first season, and has won seven Gold Gloves.

Yang was drafted out of university in with the first pick of the 1993 Korea Baseball Organization draft by the Samsung Lions. He had played for South Korea in the 1989 Intercontinental Cup. He signed for ₩101 million, a record for a batter, with an annual salary of ₩18 million. Yang made his professional debut on April 10 at Taegu Stadium for the Lions against the Ssangbangwool Raiders; against Chang-sik Im he hit two doubles. His first game was a fortuitous omen as he would be named the Rookie of the Year after hitting .341/.598/.436 with 23 home runs and 90 runs batted in. He led the league in all three rate stats (batting average, slugging percentage, and on-base percentage) and his 130 hits marked the first of fourteen consecutive seasons with 100 or more base hits (as of 2006).

Over the next five seasons with Samsung, Yang established as one of the KBO's premier hitters. In 1994, he batted .300/.386/.487 with 87 runs batted in, 19 homers, and 15 steals in 19 tries. In the following year, he produced at a .313/.417/.532 clip with 77 walks and 20 home runs. Yang batted .346/.452/.624 with 82 walks, 23 steals (in 41 tries), 33 doubles, 28 home runs, 89 runs scored and 87 runs batted in during the 1996 season. In that year he led the league in batting average, base hits with 151, and showed a bit of power-hitting prowess coming two short of the league lead in home runs.

Yang came was once again two short of the league lead in home runs in 1997 and in 1998 he led the league in batting average at .342 (156 hits in 456 at-bats) and was the league leader in base hits as well. He won three consecutive Gold Gloves from 1996 to 1998; the first two in the outfield and the third as a designated hitter.

Despite being the reigning batting champion, Yang was traded in the 1998 off-season to the Haitai Tigers (along with Chae-jin Gwak and Du-seong Hwang) for defending saves points leader Chang-yong Im. The trade worked out well for both clubs, Yang posted career-bests in home runs (32) and runs batted in (105) while Im had the league's best earned run average. During the season he also played for the national team at the 1999 Asian Baseball Championships; he helped them win Gold and made the All-Tournament team at DH. Yang, however, would spend just a single season with the Tigers before being traded to the LG Twins for Dunpro and ₩0.5 billion.

In 2000, he helped organize the Korea Professional Baseball Players Association.

Yang played well for LG, despite losing some power, after hitting 117 home runs in the previous four season, he just hit 29 during his two years with the Twins. In 2001, he won his fourth batting title with a .355 average (156 hits in 439 at-bats) as well as his fourth ; his second as a designated hitter. After the 2002 season, Yang became a free agent. He would resign with his former club, the Samsung Lions, for four years at 2.32 billion won.

In his first year back with the Lions, Yang had a off-year. For the first time in his ten-year career he failed to hit .300, managing a .276 average. Even though he played in the most games of his career, Yang posted career-lows in slugging percentage, on-base percentage, home runs, runs batted in (by over thirty) and for the first time in his career stuck out more than he walked. Still, he made the Korean Series for the first time; the series where his current club, the Lions, defeated his former one, the Twins, four games to two.

Yang bounced back in 2003, hitting .329/.614/.395 and was named to the Gold Glove team in the outfield. Moving to first base for 2004, he had another fine season, hitting/.315/.553/.434 and topping 100 RBIs, with 103, for the second time in his career and won another Gold Glove. Yang also set the record for most doubles in a career on July 10 with 328, breaking the record held by Jong-hun Jang.

In the 2005 season, despite hitting career-lows in batting average (.261) and slugging percentage (.404) and only getting 394 at-bats, Yang continued break the records set by Jang who would retire during the season after a brief seven-game stint with the Hanwha Eagles. On June 25, he broke the record for most hits in a career at Munhak Baseball Stadium against the SK Wyverns's Gil-hyeon Yun. A month later, on July 19, he was walked for a record 998th time and later in the season on September 4 set the record for most runs scored at 1044. Yang had another Gold Glove season in the 2006 with a .303/.477/.445 batting line.

At the end of the 2006 season he was sixth in games played with 1,626, 100 games behind the second place Jun-ho Jeon but more tahn 300 behind Jong-hun Jang. He was third in home runs at 296 behind both leader Jang (340) and Seung-yeop Lee (324) and second in runs batted in with 1119, 26 behind Jang. He is also second in batting average at .319, 12 points behind Hyo-jo Jang; although Yang has had over twice as many at-bats (6114 versus 3050).

On June 10, 2007, Yang of the Samsung Lions hit his 2,000th career hit, becoming the first KBO player to reach that mark. For the year, he hit .337/.456/.563 with 98 walks, 22 homers and 34 doubles. He lost the batting race by .001 to Hyun-gon Lee. He led the KBO in doubles, tied Jacob Cruz for 4th in home runs, was second to Cliff Brumbaugh in walks, was second to Dong-joo Kim in OBP (by .001) and was second to Dae-ho Lee in both slugging and OPS. He won his 8th Gold Glove to tie the record.

Yang was demoted to the minors in May of 2008 when he was hitting just .199. He finished the season hitting .278/.364/.392, well off his usual pace.

The veteran tied Jong-hoon Jang for the all-time KBO record of 340 home runs on April 14. He then missed some time to injury and was back in the minors for a spell. On May 9, he hit a solo homer off Taek-hyun Ryu to claim the home run record. He now held the KBO records for homers, hits, doubles, runs, RBI, walks, total bases and cycles (2). He said "It is really an honor for me to break the record, especially since I never won a home run title." The home run record would stand until 2013 when Seung-yeop Lee broke it.

[edit] KBO Statistics (through 2006)

Year Team G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS SH SF BB HBP SO GIDP E AVG SLG OBP
1993 Samsung Lions 106 381 82 130 27 1 23 90 4 9 0 6 61 8 40 7 8 0.341 0.598 0.436
1994 Samsung Lions 123 427 62 128 21 1 19 87 15 4 1 5 63 0 42 7 2 0.300 0.487 0.386
1995 Samsung Lions 125 438 81 137 34 1 20 84 8 2 0 6 77 6 50 7 2 0.313 0.532 0.417
1996 Samsung Lions 126 436 89 151 33 2 28 87 23 18 0 5 82 6 76 4 2 0.346 0.624 0.452
1997 Samsung Lions 126 442 94 145 32 5 30 98 25 17 0 8 103 7 75 7 2 0.328 0.627 0.455
1998 Samsung Lions 126 456 80 156 30 1 27 89 15 14 0 3 87 5 69 14 3 0.342 0.590 0.450
1999 Haitai Tigers 131 496 96 160 23 1 32 105 21 12 1 4 82 5 68 14 0 0.323 0.567 0.421
2000 LG Twins 117 432 79 135 30 2 15 92 15 4 0 3 73 5 65 6 3 0.313 0.495 0.415
2001 LG Twins 124 439 79 156 20 3 14 92 12 5 2 8 80 1 55 9 1 0.355 0.510 0.449
2002 Samsung Lions 132 391 60 108 23 2 14 50 2 3 0 1 39 5 56 9 3 0.276 0.453 0.349
2003 Samsung Lions 133 490 90 161 37 2 33 92 2 5 4 2 49 6 49 13 6 0.329 0.614 0.395
2004 Samsung Lions 133 479 95 151 30 0 28 103 5 2 1 2 89 13 53 10 11 0.315 0.553 0.434
2005 Samsung Lions 124 394 61 103 15 1 13 50 10 3 0 2 62 5 44 16 7 0.261 0.404 0.367
2006 Samsung Lions 126 413 63 125 31 1 13 81 12 7 1 7 103 9 43 11 1 0.303 0.477 - align="center" 2007 Samsung Lions 123 442 78 149 34 0 22 72 20 8 ? ? ? ? 44 12 ? 0.337 0.563 0.456
2008 Samsung Lions 114 385 49 107 16 2 8 49 1 1 ? ? ? ? 37 10 ? 0.278 0.392 0.364
Career (16 years and through May 9, 2009) 2,006 6,985 1,247 2,216 441 25 341 1,326 192 114 ? ? ? ? 871 157 ? 0.317 0.534 ?

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