Cheol-Sun Bak (Phoenix) transliterations include Chul-Soon Park and Chel Sun Park
- Bats Right, Throws Right
Cheol-Sun Bak is sometimes mistakenly listed as the first South Korean signed to a contract by a Major League team and the first to play in the minor leagues, predating Chan-Ho Park by over a decade. Wong-kuk Lee had pitched in the minors from 1968-1982, easily preceding Bak.
Bak participated in a 1979 Korean-American University Baseball Championship and was signed to a professional contract by the Milwaukee Brewers. Bak reached as high as AA. He pitched for the 1980 Stockton Ports, going 3-2 with a 2.31 ERA, a 1.00 WHIP and 32 K in 35 innings. In 1981, he went 5-7 with a 4.22 ERA for Stockton and 3-3, 5.77 for the El Paso Diablos, completing his career in the USA at 11-12.
In 1982, Bak joined the OB Bears of the newly formed Korea Baseball Organization. During that first season, he won a all-time record 22 consecutive games enroute to a Most Valuable Player Award and league championship. He won the league's pitching triple crown with a 24 wins, a 1.84 ERA, and 108 strike outs.
Following his remarkable season, Bak injured his waist and Achilles tendon, pitching only 10 ⅓ innings in 1983 and missing the entire 1984 season. He would recover, and in the process obtained the nickname "Phoenix," but would never be able to match that season, never pitching more than 116 ⅔ innings in another season. Bak spent the rest of the 1980s seeing limited action as he had been converted into a reliever, a continued to be plagued with injuries, missing the 1988 season completely. Bak would pitch for the Bears for 13 more seasons. On August 12, 1994 he set a KBO record for the oldest pitcher to throw a shut-out when he blanked the Taepyungyang Dolphins. The record was broken 11 years later by Jin-woo Song. In 1996 he recorded his only KBO at-bat, striking out. He retired after the 1996 season to become the team's pitching coach. After the season, the Bears retired his uniform number (#21).