Choo Shin-soo and Kim Kang-min (SSG above) work on the ‘Last Dance’ with ease. Then, how about Oh Seung-hwan (Samsung)?
In the 2023 season, the best in the KBO League are Choo Shin-soo, Kim Kang-min, and Oh Seung-hwan, born in 1982. The four of them and Lee Dae-ho were the best this season, but Lee Dae-ho announced his retirement. However, Kim Kang-min and Oh Seung-hwan, including Choo Shin-soo, who signed a contract for an annual salary of 1.7 billion won for the 2023 season, will continue to play on the ground next year.
Choo Shin-soo and Kim Kang-min are expected to prepare for the season relatively lightly. This is because SSG achieved its first integrated championship. Immediately after SSG’s victory in the Korean Series, the scene of the two bullhogs hugging each other and shedding tears remains a famous scene. In particular, Choo Shin-soo was the first win in his professional career.
SSG is also win-now in 2023. It is clear that Choo Shin-soo and Kim Kang-min have a role to play on and off the field. However, it is an environment where they can relieve some of the burden and focus on their baseball. On the other hand, Oh Seung-hwan is in a slightly different situation from Choo Shin-soo and Kim Kang-min.
Oh Seung-hwan had ups and downs this season. 6 wins, 2 losses, 2 holds, 31 saves in 57 games, ERA 3.32. In seven games in July, he was shaken with an ERA of 12.79 with 2 losses and 1 hold, and he had to give up his finishing position at last. However, it was only a little short of his career average ERA of 1.93, but Oh Seung-hwan was still Oh Seung-hwan. Park Jin-man managed to regain the finish, and the season was well finished. Oh Seung-hwan is Oh Seung-hwan, even though his ball rotation rate and pitch have dropped slightly compared to previous years.
Next year, Seung-hwan Oh will compete with top-class closers such as Ko Woo-seok (LG). As of 2023, Oh Seung-hwan’s last Korean Series victory should go back 10 years. Samsung achieved a 4th consecutive victory in 2014, but at that time Oh Seung-hwan was in Nippon Professional Baseball Hanshin. Oh Seung-hwan led Samsung’s combined victory in 2005-2006 and 2011-2013.
If so, will Oh Seung-hwan be able to experience winning the Korean Series at the end of his career like Choo Shin-soo and Kim Kang-min? Samsung did not have any other reinforcements in the FA market this time. Rather, as Kim Sang-soo (KT) and Oh Seon-jin (Hanwha) left, the average age of Ya Soo-jin went down. There are no other reinforcement points or singularities except for the fact that all three foreigners have renewed their contracts. Rather, the focus is on Park Jin-man’s strong training. 스포츠토토
It is impossible to predict Samsung’s ranking in the 2023 season, but the prospect that it will not be easy if young players grow up comes out little by little. Oh Seung-hwan, the oldest, should become a pillar among them. Personally, I am ahead of the milestone of 500 saves in Korea, the US and Japan (currently 492 saves) and 400 saves in the KBO league (currently 370 saves). Motivation is certain.
Wouldn’t Oh Seung-hwan dream of winning a championship and ending his career beautifully like Choo Shin-soo and Kim Kang-min? The door is also open to Oh Seung-hwan. They have one thing in common that makes them models for their juniors just by following the footsteps they have walked so far. In the 41-year-old season, the age-forgetting run begins.