162 career wins. It’s an honorary medal for a steady, injury-free career that spanned 16 years, with the exception of one year when he went to the United States after turning pro in 2007.
Kia Tigers’ Yang Hyun-jong (35) started the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League home game against the LG Twins at Kia Champions Field in Gwangju on Sunday and pitched 6⅔ innings of seven-hit ball with two walks and three strikeouts to earn his third win of the season and 162nd career victory in the team’s 6-3 win.
With the win, Yang passed Jung Min-cheol (51), a baseball commentator for MBC Sports Plus, for second place on the KBO’s all-time wins list behind Song Jin-woo (210), the technical chairman and pitching coach at Daedeok University.
After joining KIA as a much-hyped second-round pick in 2007 and helping the team win 12 games in 2009, his third year, Yang suffered a three-year slump starting in 2011, but has since won double-digit games in eight consecutive seasons, earning praise as one of the league’s best pitchers. The biggest reason for this is that he pitched steadily with a healthy body.
This was Yang’s third attempt to break the record this season. On the 14th, he gave up four runs (two earned) in 5⅓ innings against the Doosan Bears amid defensive woes, and on the 21st, he suffered a loss against the Kiwoom Heroes after pitching seven innings of one-run ball with no batting support.
Yang Hyun-jong, who took the mound at home, gave up three runs in the top of the first inning after being hit by singles from Park Hae-min and Hong Chang-ki. The bad luck seemed to continue.
This time, however, the bats came through. In the bottom of the fourth, Byun Woo-hyuk’s RBI single and pinch-hitter Lee Chang-jin’s RBI double made it 4-3, and Yang Hyun-jong came off the mound with a 6-3 lead in the top of the seventh. Amidst a strong outing from the bullpen, Yang set a new record.
Commissioner Jung Min-cheol, a former Hanwha Eagles franchise star, looked at his junior with special emotion. He joined the Binggrae Eagles (Hanwha’s predecessor) in 1992 and has worn an Eagles uniform ever since, except for two years when he played in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB). In 393 career games and 2394⅔ innings, he compiled a 161-128 record with a 3.51 ERA and 1661 strikeouts.
With 10 of his 16 seasons in double-digit wins, he was more consistent than anyone else, and he had a special message for his juniors. Speaking to Star News earlier, Jung said, “I don’t think I’m going to be very emotional right now. “The premise is that someone has to approach that record so that I can take a look back at myself. “The premise is that somebody has to have access to it, so they can take a look at it.
“That’s exactly what I’m doing now,” he continued, “because (Yang) Hyun-jong and (Kim) Kwang-hyun (152 wins) have gone over 160 and 150, so I’ve forgotten about it, and then I look back at myself. I don’t write down how many wins I have, so I’ve forgotten about it, but thanks to my great juniors, I look back at myself. I definitely don’t know when I was on active duty. You have a lot of things to worry about and you’re busy. I won’t realize how great this record is until long after I retire.”
Due to Yang Hyun-jong, Commissioner Jung Min-chul was summoned several times. In particular, whenever Yang Hyun-jong played, he was in the spotlight again as he moved to second place on the all-time wins list in just his third attempt. “I’m grateful to Hyunjong,” he said, “He’s more concerned about team performance than records. 메이저놀이터 With that kind of class, no one will be conscious of the record.”
Commissioner Jung Min-cheol was pleased to see his junior achieve the record. However, he called for more efforts from right-handed pitchers, who are relatively few in number. Currently, it is not easy to find a player who can challenge the record below Jung Min-chul. Among the active players, Song Eun-beom (39-LG-88 wins) is clearly limited by his age, while Choi Won-tae (26-KIUM-63 wins), Park Se-woong (28-LOTTE-55 wins), Ahn Woo-jin (24-KIUM-37 wins), Won Tae-in (23-SAMSUNG-36 wins), and Choi Soo-joon (22-KT-33 wins) are the others.
However, it’s hard to say if any of these players will surpass Chung, as they will need to play consistently and injury-free in the future, which makes the record even more impressive. “I think it will come sooner rather than later because there are kids like Woo-jin and others like him,” Jung said, adding, “I think I can do it without getting sick and having any major problems.” He expressed his expectations.