Обсуждение участника:“My second hometown is Gwangju” Lee Beom-ho Started from Hanwha, but won the championship, retired ceremony, and even coached by KIA

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Beom-ho Lee, new manager of KIA Tigers.

“My second hometown is Gwangju.”

Beom-ho Lee (43), who was appointed as the new coach of the KIA Tigers, recently appeared on Tae-gyun Kim's YouTube broadcast and expressed his deep affection for his team.

Coach Lee, whose hometown is Daegu, started his professional career with the Hanwha Eagles. However, regarding the reason why he chose Gwangju instead of Daejeon as his second hometown, he explained, “It is the place that gave me a chance when I returned from Japan,” and “Because I won a championship here and my children were born here.”

Beom-ho Lee, who graduated from Daegu High School and was selected by Hanwha with the 8th overall pick in the second round in 2000, played only in Daejeon until 2009 before advancing to Japan. Playing 1,129 games for 10 years at Hanwha, he had a glorious time with a batting average of .265 (917 hits in 3,465 at-bats), 160 home runs, 526 RBIs, and an OSP of .821, and also received the Golden Glove Award twice as a third baseman.

Until then, not many people doubted that Lee Beom-ho would remain Hanwha's one-club man. This is because players who advance overseas usually return to their original team when they return to Korea.

However, when Beom-ho Lee returned to Korean baseball after a year, he headed to KIA, not Hanwha. At the time, Hanwha coach Han Dae-hwa strongly wanted Lee Beom-ho, but Hanwha, a 'salty' club, showed a lukewarm attitude toward negotiations.

In the end, Beom-ho Lee signed a contract with KIA, which actively sent him an offer, despite his heartache. This was the first case of an overseas player returning to Korea and transferring to a team other than his original team.

At the time, Beom-ho Lee left his former team with a wound, but later this choice became a ‘act of God.’ He recalled the situation at the time, “I just thought that I had to do better since I left my former team.”

After joining KIA, Beom-ho Lee quickly integrated into the team and became a key player. As a result, he signed a free agent contract with KIA at the end of the 2015 season and led the team to a comprehensive win as captain in 2017. Accordingly, in 2019, the club even held a grand retirement ceremony for him, who was from another team.

Beom-ho Lee played 881 games over 9 years at KIA, leaving a batting average of .279, 169 home runs, 601 RBIs, and an OPS of .878.

Even after his retirement, his relationship with KIA did not end. KIA treated Beom-ho Lee as a team legend and even sent him to leadership training. Afterwards, Beom-ho Lee served as the general coach of the 2nd team in 2021 and the 1st team hitting coach from 2022, and received high praise as a leader. During the same period, KIA ranked at the top of the hitting index for two consecutive years.

Beom-ho Lee, who played an active role in KIA, his second hometown, until his retirement as a leader, has now established himself as a legend of KIA in name and reality by rising to the position of manager.

Beom-ho Lee said, “I am worried about suddenly taking over as coach in a difficult situation for the team, but I will build the team step by step with a heavy sense of responsibility.” He added, “This is a stage where they can freely communicate with the players and play their baseball to their hearts’ content.” “I will become a leader who creates,” he confidently expressed his aspirations as KIA coach.

He continued, “I know very well what the club and fans expect from me. “As the KIA Tigers coach, not a novice coach, I will definitely bring the team to the top within the given term,” he added. 섯다