Hanwha Eagles’ Jung Woo-ram (38) prepares for the end. It’s not over yet. It’s a slow burn with a new beginning.
The Hanwha Eagles announced on Thursday that Jung Woo-ram will begin the 2024 season as a playing coach. He won’t be retiring as a player, but he’ll be taking on a coaching role while retaining his playing eligibility. Hanwha said it considered Jung’s integrity and reputation as captain this season, as well as his relationship with younger players.토토사이트
Jeong is the only active Hanwha player to be recognized as a “Legend”. He made his debut in 2004 and has appeared in 1004 games. This is the most games ever played by a KBO pitcher and the most games played by a pitcher in a single professional league, including Japan and Taiwan. His career record of 197 saves and 145 holds with a 3.18 ERA puts him on par with other legendary closers such as Oh Seung-hwan (Samsung Lions), Koo Dae-sung, and Kim Yong-soo.
Jung’s longevity is nothing short of remarkable, as he played for the SK Wyverns from 2007 to 2012, helping the team to three consecutive championships and six consecutive Korean Series appearances. In 2010 (102 innings) and 2011 (94 and one-third innings), he was embroiled in a controversy over the number of innings he pitched. Injuries and declining performance were a major concern, but he was undeterred. Fans joked, with mixed praise, that “when will he break down?
This year, in his 20th year as a professional, Jung has a 5.36 ERA. In the last three years, injuries and slumps have plagued him, and his physical condition has deteriorated to the point where it’s not easy to pitch. It can be said that he has finally broken down.
Jung Woo-ram of the Hanwha Eagles. Photo courtesy of the Hanwha Eagles
But Jung Woo-ram is still Jung Woo-ram. He was the captain this season, and his leadership was exactly what Hanwha needed. Without many seniors to look up to, Hanwha was able to escape last place this season with two solid pillars in Jung on the mound and Chae Eun-sung at the plate.
“I had a lot of patience,” Jung said of his long run. “When I did well, I had to be humble and try to do better. I had a lot of help because I played baseball with good coaches, seniors and juniors. I was humble and tried to be thorough on the mound, and I think that’s why my record came out.”
While his time as a pitcher is coming to an end, Jung’s engine hasn’t stopped yet. “I thought I wasn’t a priority in the team’s direction,” he explains of his decision to accept the role of playing coach, “but I wanted to finish with the goal of being on the mound for the first team, even if it was just for a few games.”
Hanwha Eagles’ Jung Woo-ram throws a batting ball directly to the players. By Cha Seung-yoon firstname.lastname@example.org
I asked Jeong a little more about his choice of pitching coach when I met him in Hongseong, Chungcheongnam-do on the 18th. “I thought I wanted to play more as a player, but in a way, it seemed to be a stubbornness. When I was thinking about the direction of the team and my physical condition, the club offered me the job and I decided.”
“I want to take care of my shoulder, but I also want to play a role as a senior and a coach,” he said. “I will personalize my communication with the players in the reserve team so that I can quickly identify their deficiencies. I want to emphasize the importance of fundamentals to the juniors, and I want to be a part of that.”
He said he will be ready to take the mound at any time. However, his physical condition is key. “I’m going to wait until next spring to decide. I’ll try to build up my body and see if I can challenge myself. I hope that if I rest and build up my body again, I can help the team a little bit. If the younger guys do well and I don’t have a spot, I might decide to retire. If my body is fine, I will throw in practice games to keep my senses sharp.”
“My goal is still to see the fans on the mound of the first team,” Jung said, “and I will prepare myself to feel nervous so that I can see them in the first team at least once next season. Until then, I hope the fans can see me as ‘Jung Woo-ram’.”