Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) First Game: March 27, 1982

MBC청룡 vs. 三星라이온즈

The Korea Baseball Championship is the name of the highest professional baseball league in South Korea. Below is information about the league's inaugural game.

The first game was played in Seoul, at Dongdaemun Stadium (동대문운동장) --also know as Seoul Stadium ballpark (서울운동장)-- between the Samsung Lions (三星라이온즈) of Daegu and MBC Blue Dragons (MBC청룡) of Seoul on Saturday, March 27, 1982 in front of a reported 30,000 (35,000 according to some sources) spectators. Among the notable people in attendance at the inaugural game were: Suh, Jyong-chol (KBO Commissioner), Yoo, Chang-soon (Korean Prime Minister), Takeso Shimoda (NPB Commissioner), Toru Shoriki (Yomiuri Giants owner) and Shigeo Nagashima (ex-Giants player and manager).  According to the Pacific Stars and Stripes, Bowie Kuhn (MLB Commissioner) and Peter O'Malley (Los Angeles Dodgers President) had been invited to the ceremony, but did not attend. Some Americans did attend the game though, most of them connected with U.S. Forces Korea. The then-Korean President, Chun, Doo-hwan threw out the ceremonial first pitch. 



Starting Pitchers
MBC Blue Dragons: Lee, Kil-hwan (이길환)
Samsung Lions: Hwang, Kyu-bong (황규봉)

To the action
The Lions jumped out to an early lead in the first inning scoring two runs on Lee, Man-soo's double off Dragon's starting pitcher Lee, Kil-hwan. Samsung's hot bats continued into the second, scoring 3 more runs and knocking the starter, Lee, out of the game. After the top of the second, it was beginning to look as though Samsung was going to run away with it and make short work of the Dragons.

However, MBC responded with one run in the bottom of that inning, and with their bats slowly starting to come alive, scored one run in each of the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. Meanwhile Samsung matched them with one run in both the fifth and sixth to build a 7-4 lead going into the seventh inning. Down by three runs in the bottom of that inning, MBC ties it up with a three-run homer off the bat of Yu, Sung-an. The 7-7 tie continues through nine, and so the first ever game heads to extra innings.

In the bottom of the tenth, MBC loads the bases with two outs. With Lee, Sun-hee on the mound, Lee, Chong-do comes to the plate with the winning run only 90 feet away and looking to make history. And make history he does! On a two ball and no strike pitch, Lee launches a walk-off grand slam over the left field fence, catapulting his team to an astonishing comeback victory, and thus bringing to an end the inaugural game in spectacular fashion.


Line Score
Team
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
R
H
E
Samsung
2
3
0
0
1
1
0
0
0
0
7
10
MBC
0
1
0
1
1
1
3
0
0
4
11
16
WP: Yoo, Chong-gyom (유종겸) 1-0 LP: Lee, Sun-hee (이선희) 0-1


Noteworthy events
1st Hit: Lee, Man-soo (이만수) off Lee, Kil-hwan (이길환)
1st Homerun: Lee, Man-soo(이만수) off Yoo, Jong-gyom (유종겸)
1st Grandslam: Lee, Chong-do (이종도) off Lee, Sun-hee (이선희)
The grandslam can be seen here.
4 Home runs (MBC - 3, Samsung - 1)

You can see some of the game here too.

I hope you find this interesting and please forgive any mistakes with the spelling of names; the romanization of Korean names has been very inconsistent throughout the years. I was working from both English and Korean information. I followed the Korean standard of family name, given name for all Korean names in both English and Korean.

According to the Pacific Stars and Stripes, the price of an outfield ticket on opening day was 2,000 won (about $2.85 at the then rate of 700 won to the dollar).  They also noted that baskets of Korean rice, fish snacks, cakes and various soft drinks were sold by vendors at the game.  Apparently, hot dogs and mustard were not available, but there was popcorn.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find the number of errors, but I'm still working on it. I will continue to update this post as I find out more information about the game. If anyone wants to add any information, please feel free to email me or leave a comment.

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