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Noh-jun Park

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Noh-jun Park (박노준)

  • Bats Left, Throws Left

Noh-jun Park was an Olympic pitcher who became a Gold Glove outfielder.

Park played for the South Korean national team when they won their historic Gold Medal in the 1982 Amateur World Series. He remained with them for the 1983 Intercontinental Cup, 1984 Amateur World Series and 1984 Olympics. In the 1984 Amateur World Series, Noh-jun was 2-3 with a 2.68 ERA, leading South Korea in wins; he fanned 27, walked 7 and allowed 27 hits in 37 innings (17 more than any of his teammates). He was their only southpaw hurler in the event. Overall, he tied Reinaldo Costa for fourth in the Series in whiffs, trailing only Julio Romero, Sheng-Hsiung Chuang and Hiroshi Nagatomi.

Noh-jun turned pro with the 1986 OB Bears. He was 5-6 with 7 saves and a 2.28 ERA in 33 games as a rookie while hitting .173/.204/.269. He was 7th in the Korea Baseball Organization in ERA. In 1987, he improved to .315/.371/.405 as a hitter and fell to 0-1, 6.19 on the mound, starting to reverse roles from pitcher to outfielder. The next season, the 25-year-old hit .240/.294/.384 as a semi-regular flyhawk while pitching his last game (6 R in 3 IP).

Park was starting left fielder for the Bears in 1989 and batted .298/.373/.347 with 25 steals in 39 tries. He was 7th in the league in average and 6th in steals. In 1990, he produced at a .249/.300/.313 rate and was 13-for-21 in steal attempts. The Seoul native rebounded to bat .293/.345/.386 in 1991. He stole 19 bases but was caught 12 times; his 129 hits were 9th in the league. In '92, he hit .240/.302/.336 for the Bears (now the Doosan Bears) and the Haitai Tigers.

Park fell to .227/.289/.287 in 1993. He had his career year as a batter in 1994 with a .303/.374/.379 batting line and 43 steals in 58 tries. He was 7th in the KBO in average, 9th in OBP, 3rd in steals (behind Jong-beom Lee and Ji-hyun Yoo) and second in times caught stealing. He also won a Gold Glove, which in the KBO goes to the best player at each position, not just the top defender. Jae-hyun Kim and Deok-kyu Yun were the other two outfielders picked that year. With the Ssangbangwool Raiders in '95, he was at .220/.266/.289 to continue his roller-coaster career; he stole 20 bases and was gunned down six times. In 1996, he hit .345/.393/.496 in a part-time role. He ended his career in '97 by batting .187/.296/.336.

Overall, the former Olympian had finished with a career batting line of .262/.324/.347 with 154 steals in 227 tries. As a pitcher, he was 5-7 with 7 saves and a 3.13 ERA.

After his playing career ended, he became a baseball commentator, starting in 2002.

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