Ko Woo-suk of the San Diego Padres said goodbye to No. 19, his uniform number. Instead, he wore Oh Seung-hwan’s No. 21.
Ko Woo-suk’s uniform number this season, which was released on the Major League’s official website MLB.com on the 10th (Korea time), was 21. Earlier, after the two-year contract with San Diego was announced on the 4th, Ko Woo-suk’s uniform number was not separately indicated, but he chose his new uniform number, 21.
To Ko, No. 19 is a symbolic number. Since joining LG as the first player in 2017, he has been wearing No. 19 for seven years. He has also stuck to No. 19 in international competitions such as the 2019 Premier 12, the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC), and the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games. As such, Ko has always loved the number.
However, San Diego couldn’t have worn No. 19. It was Tony Gwynn’s uniform number.
Tony Gwynn was one of the best teaching hitters in the major leagues at the time as a San Diego One club man for 20 years. Gwynn had a career batting average of 0.338 with 3,141 hits, 135 homers, 1,138 RBIs, 790 walks, 434 strikeouts, and 319 stolen bases with a .388 slugging percentage of 0.459 OPS 0.847 in 2,440 games.
In particular, Gwynne played an active role in offense and defense, including 15 All-Star selections, seven silver sluggers and five gold gloves during his career from 1982 to 2001.
Gwynn’s splendid history does not end here. Since he became the first batting champion in 1984, he won eight trophies from 1987 to 1989 with Io 1994 to 1997. Even after retirement, Gwynn was permanently absent and listed as a Hall of Famer for difficulties with 97.6 percent of the vote. Gwynn died in June 2014 from laryngeal cancer.
It is Ko Woo-suk who cannot wear No. 19 because he is the San Diego legend’s number. However, Ko chose Oh Seung-hwan’s No. 21. Ko has pointed fingers at Oh as his role model since he was a baseball player. In addition, the relationship between the two players is significant, as Ko has always been called Oh’s descendant in the KBO League. Since then, Ko, who advanced to the Major League, has engraved his role model number.
Ko Woo-suk developed his Major League dream since the LG Twins requested the KBO to post Ko Woo-suk on November 28 last year, and on December 5, the MLB Secretariat announced that the posting began on December 4 to 30 clubs, opening the official way for posting. He was granted 30 days of posting time, with negotiations starting at 8 a.m. on December 5 (U.S. Eastern Time) under the Korea-U.S. player contract agreement. Ko Woo-suk’s posting contract deadline was 7 a.m. on January 4th in Korea.헤라카지노
A day before the posting deadline, renowned Major League Baseball reporter John Hayman said on his personal social media, “The contract between South Korean right-hander Ko Woo-suk and the San Diego Padres is imminent. Ko is expected to take on the role of San Diego’s closer (Korean right-hander Woo Suk Go close to sign with Padres). The signing of Ko’s contract, which had been unknown to the world, will come in a day.
On the same day, the LG Twins also said, “Ko Woo-suk recently received an offer from a Major League club according to the Major League Baseball (MLB) posting process,” adding, “The LG Twins decided to send the offer to a Major League team that has sent the offer out of respect for the player’s will.” LG then went on a full-fledged flight to the U.S., adding, “Ko Woo-suk left for the U.S. to proceed with the contract, including a medical test.”
Ko Woo-seok graduated from Chungam High School and joined LG in the first round of the 2017 rookie draft. The KBO League record has been reborn as a closing pitcher representing the league with 19 wins, 26 losses, 139 saves and a 3.18 ERA in 354 games.
Last year, he showed 100 percent of his true value. Ko earned 1.48 ERA and 42 saves to win the title of “Save King.” However, he has faltered a bit this season due to minor injuries. Ko played for the World Baseball Classic (WBC) team in March but failed to play in any games due to neck injury during a practice game. Since then, he has posted a disappointing performance with three wins, eight losses and 15 saves with an ERA of 3.68 in 44 games this season due to shoulder and back injuries.
He also showed signs of nervousness when LG won the Korean Series championship for the first time in 29 years since 1994. Ko was disappointed with his record of one win, one loss, one save and 8.31 ERA in four ⅓ innings in four games in the Korean Series. Nevertheless, he has not changed as a closing pitcher representing Korea, and he was chosen by San Diego.
Ko Woo-seok said in an interview back home after joining San Diego, “I didn’t expect too much, but the (contract) offer came in at the last minute. I was worried because there was not much time left, but I thought I would be happy after the contract was signed just seven minutes before the (contract deadline), but I think it was a time of relief.”
“I think I’m still a little impatient to say that I’m a major leaguer, so I’ll do my best to build up my body and play my first game in Seoul (where the opening game is held).”
He is also Ko Woo-suk who has not forgotten his affection for LG fans. “I think there were some parts that were difficult to decide to go to the Major League because of the enthusiastic passion of LG fans. That doesn’t mean that I will leave forever, so I think I should develop further and come back to LG,” he said.
Ko is also in the spotlight as a closing pitcher candidate in San Diego. The San Diego Union-Tribune, a local San Diego media outlet, analyzed Ko by analyzing a roster of 40 players for the 2024 season.