Hanwha Eagles’ Young Gun Ace, Memories of Kim Sung Hoon

While the beginning and end of the season can sometimes bring a pang of sadness, the date of November 23 is a particularly sad one. Not only is it the end of the baseball season and the emptiness that comes with it, but it’s also the day that a player who made quite an impression during his playing days passed away at a young age. This is Kim Sung-hoon (Hanwha), who took the field with an excited expression and a bright smile. It’s also a day that makes his young age – he was only 21 – seem even more unfortunate.

Four years ago in November, with the season over and the Stobrigue in full swing, an unbelievable news broke. It was the shocking news that Hanwha Eagles pitcher Kim Sung-hoon had died in an accidental fall. At first, I couldn’t believe it at all. The day before, he had spoken cheerfully about preparing well for the next season, so I assumed the news was a lie. However, after hearing the news from the Hanwha organization once again, he could not help but look to the sky and take a deep breath.굿모닝토토 도메인

Kim Sung-hoon has been a tree since his little league days. During his time in the Namyangju Little League in Gyeonggi-do, he became the first player in Korean Little League history to hit a home run in three consecutive at-bats. His father, Kim Min-ho, was the MVP of the Korean Series when he was playing for Doosan. As a result, he played two-baseball as a middle schooler, and after entering Gyeonggi University, he distinguished himself as a center fielder, leadoff hitter, and No. 3 hitter.

One day, he received a call from Kim Sung-hoon. He told me that he was struggling with his hitting. I told him, “Try everything you can. You might end up being a pitcher!” and encouraged him to try without regret. I also told him that I had talked to manager Shin Hyun-sung about pitching, and that I would let him know as soon as he made his first appearance.

Kim took the mound as a pitcher at the start of the second half of the weekend league. It was quite a gamble for him as he was on the verge of turning pro. But the gamble paid off. “Bro, I went 147 kilometers!” he said excitedly when he called me after his first start. He had laid the foundation to go pro. I was happy for him, too, and told him that it was up to the heavens to decide which round he would be selected for.

Then came the rookie draft. Kim Sung-hoon was drafted by the Hanwha Eagles in the second round, earlier than expected. “I didn’t really show anything as a pitcher in high school, so I try not to be greedy. So I tried not to be greedy. I don’t have much experience and my body as a pitcher is not complete, so I want to build my body slowly in the developmental team rather than quickly reaching the first team stage.” He also thanked Han Hwa for the nomination. On the other hand, he also left a message that he would like to write ‘this one word’. “I couldn’t say thank you to my parents, who are the ones I should be thanking, so I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to my father and mother, and please write it down (laughs).” He was already a pro at heart.

As expected, Kim spent 2017 focusing on rehabilitation and getting in shape, and by 2018, he was ready to pitch for the first team and become a future ace. Although he didn’t pick up a win, he pitched 27 and 2/3 innings in 10 games, posting a 3.58 ERA. He also struck out 28 batters, which was more than his innings pitched. The following year, he pitched 22 and 1/3 innings and struck out 26 batters, so he was clearly the future of the Hanwha mound.

Bibeau’s breakout season came just as we were looking forward to the next one, and it’s a sad, sad moment. If he had developed as expected, he could have shown his talent in the Premier12, WBC, or Asian Games. Nowadays, I feel so sad that Kim Sung-hoon is gone before he even showed that he was here.

It’s been four years since he left. In the meantime, his teammates have continued to honor his memory and take over his number, especially his best friend Lee Jung-hoo, who was in the same position as him and is now trying to make it to the major leagues with his friend’s memory. I’m sure Kim Sung-hoon is watching from heaven and praying for good results.

As we move into December and the cold winds begin to blow, may Hanwha’s Kim Sung-hoon rest in eternal peace.

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