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Min-tae Chung

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Min-Tae Chung

(also transliterated as Min-Tae Chong, Min-Tae Jong and Min-Tae Jeong)

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 0", Weight 198 lb.

An Olympic pitcher for the Bronze Medal-winning South Korean team in 2000, Min-Tae Chung twice led the Korea Baseball Organization in wins. He twice was MVP of the Korean Series.

He played in the 1989 Intercontinental Cup. In the 1990 Baseball World Cup, Chung was 3-1 with one save and a 2.02 ERA, fanning 29 in 36 IP. He led the tournaments in strikeouts and tied for second in wins. Chung was the star of the Bronze Medal game, allowing one run in 6 2/3 innings to give South Korea the win and the medal. He was much worse in the 1991 Intercontinental Cup, going 0-2 with a 7.30 ERA.

Chung debuted in 1992, going 1-3 with a 3.81 ERA for the Deepyongyang Dolphins. In 1993, Min-Tae had a 6.75 ERA in limited action for the Dolphins. At age 24, the right-hander was 8-9 with a 3.72 ERA, followed by a 8-14, 3.69 season with his first three shutouts in the KBO.

The Dolphins became the Hyundai Unicorns in 1996 and Chung was 15-9 with a 2.44 ERA, making a drastic improvement. In 1997, Min-Tae fell to 13-13, 3.33 but struck out 159, his most yet, in 219 innings of work. The next year, the former Hanyang University star was 17-9 with a 2.83 ERA (4th in the KBO) and again fanned 159, but only took 200 innings to do so this time. He was one win behind league leader Yong-soo Kim. He won the Korean Series MVP in helping the franchise to its first title ever.

In 1999, the 29-year-old hurler had a 20-7 record, three saves and 178 strikeouts in 230 2/3 innings. He led the league in victories and possibly in strikeouts. He had a 2.54 ERA that campaign, second to Chang-yong Im (as per the Baseball Almanac; the KBO site lists Myung-won Jeong as first ahead of Im, using different inning criteria). He helped South Korean win Gold at the 1999 Asian Championship. The next year, Hyundai won another title and Chung was 18-6 with a 3.48 ERA, 7th in the league and possibly tying a couple other pitchers for the league lead in wins. He also made the South Korean staff for the 2000 Olympics. At this point, he was 100-70 with a 3.14 ERA in the KBO with two win titles.

Chung signed with the Yomiuri Giants and was 2-0 for them in 2001, albeit with a 6.16 ERA. He walked only 3 in 19 innings over 10 appearances. In 2002, he was even worse - 0-1, 6.41 in 17 games. Overall, he was 2-1 with a 6.28 ERA for Yomiuri, allowing 45 hits, 10 walks and 28 strikeouts in 38 2/3 innings.

Returning to South Korea in 2003, Chung showed he could still dominate in his homeland, posting a 17-2 record with a 3.31 ERA. He again led the KBO in victories and was third in ERA. The club won its third title (and third in its last four years with Chung aboard) and he was again the Korean Series MVP. Only Yong-Su Kim had previously been so honored twice. In the Korean Series, he had won games one, four and seven; in the finale, he went the distance for a 7-0 shutout. He pitched for South Korea in the 2003 Asian Championship.

In 2004, Min-Tae fell to 7-14 with a 5 ERA and allowed 183 hits in 165 2/3 innings, though Hyundai won again. He continued to decline in 2005 with a 0-3, 4.73 record in 8 games. In 2006, Chung pitched one game, allowing one run in two innings. He was miserable in 2007, going 0-6 with a 12.81 ERA, allowing 35 hits and 12 walks in 19 2/3 innings. He was released following the season.

Chung signed with the KIA Tigers for 2008 and allowed six runs in 3 2/3 innings before being sidelined by shoulder injuries. He never recuperated and announced his retirement on July 8.

Overall, he was 124-96 in the KBO.

Sources: Japanbaseballdaily.com by Gary Garland, Korean Wikipedia, 1998-2001 and 2004 Baseball Almanac

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