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“Always give me confidence by saying, ‘You are the best.'”
The 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO Futures All-Star Game was held at Sajik Stadium in Busan on Thursday. Park Chi-wang, head coach of the Korean Armed Forces Athletic Corps (Commerce), participated in the all-star game as the manager of the Southern League All-Stars.
As the game was underway, a familiar face appeared in the dugout. It was Samsung Lions center fielder Koo Ja-uk. Koo showed his excitement by hugging Park Chi-wang, and the story blossomed with laughter.
He was coached by Park Chi-wang. He spent time with the club from 2013 to 2014. After the end of his debut season in 2012, he quickly applied to the club to resolve his military issues and was accepted.
Koo reached his full potential at the club. Even in the Futures League, it wasn’t easy for a 21- and 22-year-old Korean player to break into the league. In 88 games in 2013, Koo hit .301 with 94 hits, six home runs, 45 RBIs, 55 runs scored, and an OPS of 0.820.
His 2014 season was even better, as he batted .357 with 86 hits, three home runs, 48 RBIs, 48 runs scored, and a .949 OPS in 75 games.
At the age of 22, Gu made his first-team debut in 2015. In 2015, Koo batted .349 with 143 hits, 11 home runs, 57 RBIs and 97 runs scored in 116 games and was named the Rookie of the Year.
Since then, he has gone on to represent Samsung and become one of the KBO’s leading hitters, amassing 1236 hits, 126 home runs, 627 RBIs, and 752 runs scored in 1018 career games. Excluding this season, he has recorded triple-digit hits in eight consecutive seasons. 해외안전놀이터 추천
Although he has been sidelined with injuries this season, he is batting .301 with 62 doubles, three home runs, 27 RBIs, and 30 runs scored per game.
When asked what kind of talks he had with manager Park Chi-wang, Koo said, “He tells me a lot that I just need to take care of my body. We had a lot of conversations when I was a player, and we still talk about our memories. He always says, ‘We are the best,’ and he is the best teacher who gives me confidence.”
“He always supports me. He is a special coach for me. He gave me a lot of guidance when I was in the business. I think that’s why I’m where I am today. He always asks how I’m doing and keeps in touch. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen him, so I was happy to see him,” he smiled.
Koo signed a five-year, up to 12 billion won, non-free agent multi-year contract with Samsung before last season. With a salary of 2 billion won this season, he is the highest paid player in the KBO. It took a lot of hard work, sweat, and time spent in the business world to get him to this point.
At the All-Star Game, Koo entertained the fans at Sajik Stadium by imitating the choreography of Newzine’s “Attention”.