8th out of 40 baseball KBO legends in Australia for 14 years after retirement
‘Japanese killer’ who experienced baseball in Korea
, the US and Japan Overcoming language barriers and discrimination against Asians, he
donated his talents as a player and coach in Australia
In 2010, Koo Dae-seong (53), the oldest active pitcher, decided that he could no longer play as a competitive player in the KBO League. That year, Koo Dae-seong pitched in 7 games and had an ERA of 9.64. His focus was on Australia. He has been living in Australia for 14 years. Koo Dae-sung said, “I chose immigration because I wanted to continue playing the baseball I wanted to play.”
Koo Dae-seong is one of the best closers in Korean professional baseball. He was voted 8th overall in the “Legend 40” vote selected by the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) to mark the 40th anniversary of its inception. He is the fourth pitcher after Seon Dong-yeol, Choi Dong-won, and Song Jin-woo. In 1996, he won the most wins and the salvation king at the same time, and won 4 pitching crowns, and won the regular season MVP and Korean Series MVP.
Becoming the best pitcher in the KBO League, he played four years with the Orix Buffaloes of the Japanese professional baseball and one year with the New York Mets of the American Major League (MLB). As a member of the national team, he was particularly strong against Japan and instilled the weight of the Taegeuk mark in his juniors. Deception (the action of hiding the ball when pitching), which originated from his unique pitching form, was his trademark. He is also famous for passing on the circle changeup to Ryu Hyun-jin, a rookie during his time at Hanwha.
Having experienced baseball in Korea, the US and Japan, he flew to Australia in the fall of 2010. It was surprising that the ‘Legend’, who spent his days as a player more splendidly than anyone else, was living a second life overseas after his retirement. 14 years have already passed since then. Koo Dae-seong said, “Baseball was not doing well in Korea, and I was preparing to retire because I thought it was harder to play as a player. At that time, I heard that the Australian Professional Baseball League (ABL) was being established. I happened to have a sister-in-law in Australia, so I stopped by and looked around. I thought, ‘It will be okay if I continue to play as a player.’ There were also excuses for my daughter and son’s education, but the biggest desire was to play baseball, which I wanted to play,” he recalled.
The Australian national baseball team defeated Korea 8-7 at the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC). However, the league level is evaluated one number lower than Korea. Koo Dae-seong said, “Australia’s baseball history is longer than ours. Baseball was once very popular, but it is said that it cooled off at some point. However, starting with the establishment of the ABL in 2010, it is a step toward enhancing baseball’s competitiveness. There were high-level pitchers, such as throwing, but they were weak against breaking balls.” 메이저사이트
Koo Dae-seong showed off the power of Korean baseball by becoming the first ABL Salvation King. Starting with Koo Dae-seong, Lim Gyeong-wan and Go Chang-seong played an active part in the ABL. Recently, Geelong Korea, an alliance team composed of new players from each club, is participating in the ABL League.
It was difficult to adapt to the new land. The biggest problem was the language barrier. During the Sydney Blue Sox home games, a volunteer interpreter came along to help, but when he went to the away games, he had to do everything by himself. “I mobilized everything,” he recalled.
He sometimes had to put down his ego too. He said, “I tried to get closer to my Australian teammates. I tried to approach them while buying food. The players didn’t know much about me, so they said, ‘I played for the Mets for a year.’ . That’s how the way you look at me has changed.”
Koo Dae-seong, who debuted in the big league as the oldest (36 years old) player in Mets rookie history in 2005, hit a double from Randy Jones of the New York Yankees and rushed home through third base when the follow-up hitter bunt. Although the score was thrilling, the head-first sliding was a fatal blow to the pitcher. Koo Dae-sung was later placed on the injured list, and in the aftermath, he ended his big league challenge after a year.
Discrimination against Asians had to be endured. Koo Dae-seong said, “There are players who discriminate against me while underestimating or looking down on me. I pointed at a moth the size of my palm and told them to pick it up and eat it. So I confronted them saying, ‘If you eat it, I will eat it.’ When I received it, I cursed in Korean.”
Koo Dae-seong, who played until 2015, served as Sydney Blue Sox coach (2016-17) and Geelong Korea manager and player (2018-19). He’s making a talent donation without pay these days. He coaches under-16 national team players and helps train local baseball aspirants.
Koo Dae-seong still throws more than 100 balls at least one day a week. He said, “I never thought baseball was difficult or boring. Baseball is always fun.” Koo Dae-seong played 3 games for Geelong Korea this year and recorded 2 and 1/3 hits and 0 earned run. MLB’s official social media (SNS) also introduced that “the 53-year-old pitcher is still throwing the ball.” Koo Dae-seong laughed, saying, “I was confident that the maximum speed of the fastball would be 130 km (actual maximum 117 km), but it was over.”
Koo Dae-sung is famous for his love for baseball and love for his family. He said he seldom gave out his cell phone number during his active career. It was because he didn’t want to interrupt his time with his family. He welcomed, saying, “When I was a player, I rarely spent time with my family, but it’s really nice to be together here.”
Koo Dae-sung is watching Korean baseball. He said, “I also think, ‘What if I stand over there (Korea)?’
He is living in the second half of his life in Australia, but his home has changed, but he is still with baseball. Koo Dae-sung is dreaming of a ‘third baseball life’ in Korea.