“I’m really grateful that you seem to like it.”
Doosan coach Lee Seung-yeop made one point clear about the batting line in the first season of the command tower. He expressed his intention to solve the game by fixing Kim Jae-hwan at the number 4 batter’s seat.
Kim Jae-hwan, who joined Doosan in the 2nd round of the 2008 rookie draft (4th overall), boasted extraordinary power from his rookie days and raised expectations as a big hitter. Having received a full-fledged opportunity since Kim Tae-hyeong took over as manager in 2015, he hit 37 homers in 2016 and recorded his first double-digit home run in his debut, and in 2018, he hit 44 homers and became the home run king. It is the ‘Jamsil Home Run King’ that came out in 20 years following Tyrone Woods in 1998.
In 2021, Kim Jae-hwan signed a four-year contract with Doosan for a total of 11.5 billion won.
Even after his free agent contract, Kim Jae-hwan still showed his strength as a giant by hitting more than 20 homers in the past
two years. However, when he thought of the name Kim Jae-hwan, he felt somewhat regretful.
On the day of his inauguration, director Lee showed interest by holding an individual interview with Kim Jae-hwan.
While he clearly stated that he would leave the 4th batter’s seat to Kim Jae-hwan, he also passed the captaincy to Heo Kyung-min, creating an environment where he could focus on the game.
Kim Jae-hwan said, “I am grateful that the coach said this. Like the coach’s heart, I will prepare more so as not to lose my 4th hitter spot.”
Coach Lee holds the record for the most home runs in his personal career in the KBO League by hitting 467 home runs during his active career. There must have been a lot of things he wanted to ask, but Kim Jae-hwan smiled, saying, “I think I asked a lot when I was a commentator. There are things that are difficult for our generation to approach when it comes to directors.”
However, I also admired director Lee’s extraordinary communication. Coach Lee personally helped with the toss betting and hit the fungo.
Kim Jae-hwan said, “It’s the first time since his professional debut,” and “As much as he makes me comfortable, I’m thinking, ‘Let’s do well when he does well’.”
Jaehwan Kim said, “I don’t set goals for numbers from the beginning. I’m not inclined to say that it will be good with words. However, everything going well this year. I will try to show a good image.”