“I’ve been a dedicated veteran for 23 years…”
After 23 years of dedication to one team, Kim Kang-min (41) went to the Hanwha Eagles through the second round of the draft. SSG Landers members were mildly surprised by the unexpected outcome.
In the 2024 KBO Secondary Draft on April 22, Hanwha selected SSG outfielder Kim Kang-min, who will turn 42 next year and is the team’s oldest player. It wouldn’t be surprising if he retired immediately. It was a surprise to no one.
Kim broke into the professional scene in 2001 after being drafted by SSG’s predecessor, SK. He is a franchise star who played for the organization for 23 years until the 2023 season. He is a veteran of five Korean Series titles.
Hanwha’s selection of Kim, who was on the cusp of extending his career and retiring, left the SSG organization with a difficult decision to make.
If Kim had finished his career with SSG, they could have organized a retirement ceremony and coach training. The team was trying to figure out how to honor a franchise star who had played for a long time with the same team.
They even considered a permanent number.
In fact, according to the club’s officials, Kim doesn’t meet the criteria for a permanent absence based on his career record, but because he’s such an iconic player, they wanted to honor him. However, if Kim retires from playing in a Hanwha jersey, all of this will be for naught.
“He dedicated himself to the team for 23 years. We respected and admired him,” the club said. Kim, who could retire at any time, could not be kept on the 35-man protected list. “I think we can put him on a special roster and give him a farewell game,” said a club official.
Neither team was expected to pick him, but the SSG’s plans were derailed when Hanwha did. Under the rules, it’s not a problem. Hanwha head coach Son Hyuk said, “I think Kim Kang-min’s value is high, both now and in the future. He can be a starter, 카지노사이트가이드 and we don’t have enough resources for a big defender or a pinch-hitter. He can play for another year or two. It’s too early to retire.”
Son also said, “People keep saying that our outfield defense is weak. If Kim Kang-min, who is one of the top two outfielders in Korea, comes, the defense of the younger players can be upgraded. A coach can teach you something, but what you see and feel in the same player is different. That’s why I chose Kim Kang-min for his current and future value,” he explained.
Only Kim’s decision remains.
If he decides to retire, his career will end with SSG. The organization will then be able to organize the retirement game and coaching training that was originally envisioned.
For Kim Kang-min, the question is also a big one. He could either go to Hanwha or decide to retire immediately. He won’t be able to play for SSG for another year.
In this situation, Kim Kwang-hyun said on SNS, “There is a saying that SNS is a waste of life, but I have to do it today,” and “I respect someone’s choice, but I think 23 years should not be ignored. Goodbye, brother. It’s really cold today.” He also lamented the outcome of the second round draft.