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SSG Choi Jeong

"I hope the competition with Noh Si-hwan will continue this year as well."

“It’s an honor just to have access to Coach Lee Seung-yeop’s records.”

SSG Choi Jeong met with fans

Choi Jeong of SSG Landers is signing autographs for fans at the fan festival held at Convensia in Songdo, Incheon on the 21st.

Choi Jeong (36, SSG Landers) is approaching the record for the most home runs by an individual in the Korean Professional Baseball KBO League, held by Doosan Bears manager Lee Seung-yeop (47), the ‘eternal home run king’.

The competition between new and old sluggers at third base with 'young slugger' Noh Si-hwan (23, Hanwha Eagles) is expected to continue this year.

Choi Jeong plans to achieve a record and calmly accept the competition with her juniors.

Choi Jeong, whom we met after the fan festival held at Songdo Convensia in Incheon on the 21st, confessed, "I am trying not to feel pressured by my personal home run record," and "I am worried that I will unknowingly become concerned about hitting 10 home runs in the 2024 season."

Every year, Jeong Choi sets a simple goal: “Let’s hit 10 home runs.”

From 2006, his second year as a professional, to last year, his 19th year, Jeong Choi hit double-digit home runs for 18 consecutive seasons, becoming the KBO League record holder for Korean professional baseball in this category.

Choi Jeong’s ‘primary goal’ again this year is 10 home runs.

The moment Choi Jeong hits 10 home runs in 2024, the history of the KBO League will change.

On June 20, 2013, current Doosan Bears coach Seung-Yeop Lee hit his 352nd home run in the KBO League wearing a Samsung Lions uniform, rising to the top spot in his career, and his name has been engraved on the top spot in this category for over 10 years.

Coach Lee Seung-yeop retired after hitting 467 home runs in the KBO League.

Choi Jeong, who has hit 458 home runs by 2023, will surpass coach Lee Seung-yeop's record if he hits 10 or more home runs this year.

Choi Jeong-eun emphasized, "Coach Seung-yeop Lee played in Japan for 8 seasons. Coach Lee's total home runs in Korea and Japan are 626," and added, "To me, Coach Seung-yeop Lee is untouchable. It's an honor just to be able to challenge the coach's record." “He lowered his body.

However, I try not to be crushed by the weight of the record.

Choi Jeong said, "Rather than breaking the record for the most home runs in my personal career, I plan to play the game with the mindset of meeting my goal of '10 home runs' every year. I want to be free from the pressure."

I am ready to enjoy competing with my junior Noh Si-hwan.

The best batter in Korean professional baseball in 2023 was Noh Si-hwan.

Noh Si-hwan ranked first in home runs (31) and RBIs (101), and won the Golden Glove Award for third baseman.

Noh Si-hwan, who became the star of many award ceremonies, said, "I was able to achieve this level of performance this year because I tried to catch up with senior Choi Jeong. I am grateful to senior Choi Jeong."

Choi Jeong ranked second in home runs (29) in 2023, but with a slugging percentage of 0.548, he surpassed Noh Si-hwan with a slugging percentage of 0.541.

The competition between new and old slugging third basemen was fierce throughout the regular season.At the awards ceremony, Choi Jeong said, "I got injured at the end of the season and won the slugging percentage award (while maintaining my slugging percentage). If I hadn't been injured, Noh Si-hwan would have won three gold medals, so I'm sorry," and Noh Si-hwan said, "I grew thanks to senior Choi Jeong. “He responded, and once again became a hot topic.

Choi Jeong said, "Noh Si-hwan is a truly outstanding player. He will do well this year as well. I hope I can maintain a competitive structure with Noh Si-hwan this year as I did last year. I want to confidently compete with my outstanding junior."

Considering Choi Jeong’s cautious personality, this is a pretty strong comment.

Choi Jeong-eun has been a professional for 20 years this year.If he finishes this season normally, he will also become a free agent.

He signed a 4-year contract worth 8.6 billion won with SSG's predecessor, SK Wyverns, in the 2015 free agent market, and in 2019, he signed a 6-year contract worth 10.6 billion won.

Both times it was evaluated as a 'large free agent contract', but in hindsight, it was closer to a 'cheap contract'.

Even among SSG fans, there is a saying that “Choi Jeong suffered a loss.”

Choi Jeong said, “I want to achieve good results this season without injury. I am not concerned about free agency yet.”However, he grinned and said, “I think a non-FA multi-year contract (with SSG) would be good.”

SSG also plans to begin discussions on a non-FA multi-year contract before Choi Jeong becomes a free agent.
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Tuesday, January 23, 2024
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