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Sung-han Kim

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Sung-han Kim

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 10", Weight 187 lb.

Sung-han Kim was a top Korean slugger of the 1980s, leading the Korea Baseball Organization in home runs 3 times and taking home two MVP awards. He was the first two-time MVP in the KBO's history.

Kim debuted the year the KBO was founded, 1982, playing for the Haitai Tigers. He hit .305/~.340/.506 with 69 RBI in 80 games, leading the new circuit in runs batted in. He also took a regular turn on the mound and did well, going 10-5 wiht a 2.88 ERA. In 1983, the 25-year-old batted .327/~.402/.448 for Haitai and had a 1-1, 2.08 record in four mound appearances. During 1984, Kim slumped to .258/~.336/.411.

Kim had a huge year in 1985, hitting .333/~.400/.575 with 29 doubles, 22 home runs and 75 RBI (he was also 4-3 with a 3.35 ERA as a pitcher). He led the KBO in home runs and slugging percentage and won his first Gold Glove at first base. He also took home his first Korea Baseball Organization MVP award, the first infielder so honored.

Kim faded a bit to .280/~.342/.453 in 1986 but still took home Gold Glove honors. In 1987, his batting line improved to .314/~.381/.533 and he won his third Gold Glove as the KBO's best first baseman. The Tigers slugger hit .324/~.388/.577 with 30 homers and 89 RBI in 104 games in 1988. He led the league in RBI for a second time and also led in hits (131), home runs and slugging. He was named MVP again, becoming the first two-time KBO MVP.

Kim had an excellent all-around campaign in 1989, posting a batting line of .280/~.412/.512 with 26 home runs, 93 walks, 84 RBI, 93 runs and 32 steals in 40 tries. He became the first 20-20 player in KBO history and led the league in runs, homers and slugging. He won his fifth straight Gold Glove. He would never led the league in a major department again.

In 1990, the 32-year-old veteran batted .281/~.367/.444 with just 11 homers; for the first time in six years, he was not named the best first baseman in the KBO. He had a comeback in 1991, hitting .294/~.392/.547 with 23 home runs and 83 RBI. He was the All-Star Game MVP and also won his 6th and final Gold Glove.

Kim hit .261/~.333/.415 for the 1992 Tigers. In 1993, he failed to reach double digits in home runs for the first time in a decade as he batted .273/~.334/.387. His playing time declined in 1994, when he hit .236/~.290/.318 in 45 games at age 36. In 1995, he wrapped up his playing career by batting .179/~.238/.301 in 82 games.

Kim concluded his career with a .286/~.349/.471 batting line and 207 home runs in 1,338 games in the KBO. Through 2005, he ranked 21st in league history in average, tied for 9th in doubles (247), 21st in games (1,338), 7th in hits (1,389), 11th in home runs, 8th in RBI (781), 11th in runs (762), 26th in steals (143), 19th in strikeouts (696) and 23rd in BB+HBP (571). He was 15-10 with 2 saves and a 3.02 ERA in 41 games as a pitcher.

Kim was kept on by the Tigers as a coach and held that role from 1996-2000. He then managed the KIA Tigers from 2001 until July 2004. He also was a coach for Korea in the 2002 Asian Games. He returned to Gunsan Commercial High School, where he had gone to school, as their baseball coach from September 2004 through December 2005. In 2007, he was a commentator for MBC ESPN. He was the bench coach for the South Korean national team when they finished second in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

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