- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 11", Weight 198 lb.
Sung-heon Hong has been a top catcher in South Korea for a decade. He has been on the Korean national team for a few major events, including the 2000 Olympics, when they won Bronze.
Hong played for South Korea in the 1998 Baseball World Cup, hitting .229/.286/.343 with 7 RBI in 10 games. He had four passed balls but threw out 4 of 10 attempted base-stealers. He was 1 for 3 as the clean-up batter against Jose Contreras in the Gold Medal game; South Korea settled for Silver. Among those who hit behind Hong was Hee-seop Choi. In the 1998 Asian Games, Hong helped Korea win Gold.
He began his professional career with the Doosan Bears in 1999 and hit .258/~.307/.439 with 16 home runs. He won the Rookie of the Year Award. He would only top that home run total once in the next eight seasons. He was on the South Korean squad that won Gold in the 1999 Asian Championship. In 2000, he batted .290/~.343/.397. He was the starting catcher for South Korea in the 2000 Olympics, ahead of 2000 KBO MVP Kyung-wan Park. He batted .240/.296/.440 in the tournament. In the Bronze Medal game, he went 0 for 3 against Daisuke Matsuzaka in a win for South Korea.
In 2001, Hong produced at a .267/~.320/.375 with 8 home runs yet still won a KBO Gold Glove as the top overall catcher in South Korea. In 2002, he batted .289/~.352/.454 with 18 homers for Doosan. Hong hit .290/~.332/.427 in limited action in '03. He had a career season (to date) in 2004, batting .329/~.386/.475 with 27 doubles and 86 RBI. He was third in the KBO in average behind Cliff Brumbaugh and Jin-young Lee and led with 165 hits. He won his second Gold Glove.
Hong hit .272/~.326/.398 in 2005 and .287/~.338/.405 in 2006. He played for South Korea in the 2006 World Baseball Classic, backing up Kab-yong Jin and In-sung Cho at catcher. He was 2 for 4 with a walk and a double to lead the strong South Korean contingent in average. In 2007, Hong hit .268/~.349/.381 in 80 games. He had a great season in 2008 while playing solely DH, batting .331/.370/.442 and was second in the KBO in average behind Hyun-soo Kim.
After 10 years with the Bears, Hong signed a 279 million won contract with the Lotte Giants for 2009.
After retiring as a player with a .301 career average at the end of 2016, he became a coach with the AZL Padres 2 for 2017-2019.