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KBO home run king, career hits leader to join ex-MLB stars in home run derby

11:19 August 12, 2022

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Aug. 12 (Yonhap) -- South Korean baseball's all-time home run king and career hits leader will be among homegrown stars joining retired major league sluggers in an international home run derby here next month, the event's organizers said Friday.

The "FTX MLB Home Run Derby X" will make a stop at Paradise City Hotel in Incheon, next to Incheon International Airport, about 30 kilometers west of Seoul, on Sept. 17. London hosted the inaugural event on July 9.

Major League Baseball (MLB) created the new bracket-style competition in March, featuring four teams representing four iconic big league franchises: the Boston Red Sox, the Chicago Cubs, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Yankees.

This image provided by Sports Intelligence Group on Aug. 12, 2022, shows four former South Korean baseball players who will take part in the FTX MLB Home Run Derby X in South Korea in September. From top: Jeong Keun-woo, Park Yong-taik, Kim Tae-kyun and Lee Seung-yuop. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Each team will have a former big leaguer (Legend), a softball or women's baseball star (Superstar) and an influential content creator (Wild Card). The new category dubbed "Hero" has been added for the South Korean event only.

Lee Seung-yuop, who holds the record for most home runs in Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) history with 467, will be the Hero for the Cubs. Lee is also the all-time leader in RBIs (1,498), runs (1,355) and total bases (4,077).

The Samsung Lions legend, who retired in 2017, will be teammates with former Cubs catcher Geovany Soto (Legend), U.S. softball player Alex Hugo (Superstar) and football YouTuber Spencer Owen (Wild Card).

"It's an honor to be part of the first MLB home run derby taking place in Korea," Lee said. "I am looking forward to putting on a memorable show for baseball fans in Korea. I am going to do my best to prepare for this event."

Park Yong-taik, who retired last year as the KBO's hits leader with 2,504, will be representing the Red Sox at the derby, along with former outfielder Jonny Gomes, softball player Paige Halstead and British football freestyler Liv Cooke.

Kim Tae-kyun, second on the all-time list with 1,141 walks and third with 2,209 hits, will be part of the Yankees, joined by former outfielder Nick Swisher, American softball player Erika Piancastelli, and ex-Mexican artistic gymnast Daniel Corral.

South Korean short track speed skater Kwak Yoon-gy takes a swing during the FTX MLB Home Run Derby X at Crystal Palace Park in London on July 9, 2022, in this file photo provided by Major League Baseball. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Kim, who played until 2020, one of just two players in KBO history with at least a .300 batting average, 2,000 hits, 300 home runs, 1,000 RBIs and 1,000 walks.

Jeong Keun-woo, who retired in 2020 as KBO's career leader in hits (1,877), RBIs (722) and runs (1,072) as second baseman, will be trying to go deep for the Dodgers. Jeong's teammates will be ex-first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, U.S. women's baseball player Ashton Lansdell and South Korean Olympic short track speed skating medalist Kwak Yoon-gy.

In the home run derby, hitters will swing at 25 pitches and take up to 10 pitches. They will get one point for every home run and also earn points by hitting targets -- two of them set up 160 feet from home plate and another two beyond the outfield fence.

The opposition will have players in the outfield, and a catch of any ball that fails to clear the fence is worth a point.

South Korean short track speed skater Kwak Yoon-gy (R) and former Los Angeles Dodgers player Adrian Gonzalez participate in the FTX MLB Home Run Derby X at Crystal Palace Park in London on July 9, 2022, in this file photo provided by Major League Baseball. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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