Ha-seong Kim (28, San Diego Padres) is breaking the record of senior Korean major leaguers. But he still had respect for the pioneers.
MLB.com,메이저놀이터 the official homepage of the Major League Baseball (MLB), said on the 12th (Korean time), “Ha-sung Kim said, ‘I respect all Korean players who played in the big leagues. I watched them and wanted to be like that.’”
Ha-seong Kim challenged the Korean league’s batting record that day. It was the record that Choo Shin-soo (41, now SSG) set in Cincinnati in 2013. Choo Shin-soo recorded 16 hits in a row from the game against San Francisco on July 3rd to the game against San Francisco on the 23rd of that year. Choo Shin-soo has achieved 10 or more consecutive hits eight times in the major leagues.
Ha-seong Kim, who previously had the longest hitting streak in the major leagues at 8 games (June 16-23, 2023), stood shoulder to shoulder with Shin-soo Choo on this day. He started as the team’s first hitter and second baseman in the 2023 Major League away game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field in Arizona, USA, and recorded 2 hits, 1 RBI and 1 run in 5 at-bats. At the same time, the number of consecutive hits from the home game against Pittsburgh on the 25th of last month was increased to ’16’.
In the second half, Kim Ha-seong, who is recording amazing results with a batting average of 0.378 and an OPS of 1.050, also led the team to a 10-5 victory with a multi-hit that day, and helped them escape from the swamp of 4 consecutive losses. Kim Ha-seong, who tied Ichiro Suzuki’s record of multiple on-base hits in Asia (16 games, 2007), is now solving his regret with a streak of hits.
Ha-seong Kim, who broke the record for the most stolen bases in a single season (22 steals in 2010), which had already been held by Shin-soo Choo, on the 5th, is now the first Korean leaguer to steal 30 bases in a single season, leaving only three. Also, the 20 (home run)-20 (steal base) club, which only Choo Shin-soo recorded, can be achieved by hitting five more home runs. Now, the footsteps of Kim Ha-seong will become a new history of Korean big leaguers.
However, Kim Ha-seong consistently shows his respect for his seniors who passed in front of him. He said to Ryu Hyun-jin (36, Toronto), who returned from Tommy John surgery (elbow ligament joint surgery), at the end of last month, “All baseball players, including me, grew up watching Ryu Hyun-jin play.” It’s a blessing.”
And even after setting the tie record for consecutive hits by Koreans, Ha-seong Kim did not hide his awe, saying, “I respect all Korean leaguers. I watched them and wanted to be like them.”
This is interpreted because Kim Ha-seong has been blocked by the wall of the major leagues for the past two years. Wearing a San Diego uniform ahead of the 2021 season, he only had a batting average of 0.202 in the first year, and hit 11 homers last year, but his batting average was 0.251, which was an ordinary level. He was noted as an offensive shortstop enough to hit 30 homers in Korea, but he was known only as a defensive player in the big leagues.
MLB.com said, “Many people advised Ha-seong Kim on how to adapt to the major leagues. But Ha-sung Kim knew that he had to experience it himself to get that feeling.” Even in watching the game from the bench, which he was not used to in Korea, Ha-seong Kim said he learned about the major leagues.
And it was ‘effort’ that saved Kim Ha-seong. “I believed in myself,” he said. “I knew that if I worked hard every day, I would eventually get good results.” This kind of thought was also revealed in his attempt to attack the ball quickly by modifying his batting form with his junior Lee Jung-hoo (25) during the Kiwoom Heroes days ahead of this season.
And this season, which began, Kim Ha-seong showed a different appearance. MLB.com explained, “The rate of swinging the ball outside the strike zone decreased from 24.9% last year to 19.3%, and the walk rate also rose to 12.9%. This is tied for 16th among all hitters.” As a result, Kim Ha-seong’s on-base percentage (0.382) is also showing a good figure. He also ranks first among fielders with a WAR (contribution to victory over substitutes) of 5.9 in Baseball Reference, establishing himself as one of the top players in the league.
As a result, the evaluation within the team is gradually increasing. San Diego manager Bob Melvin praised Ha-seong Kim, saying, “It’s great. He’s been fantastic all season, and he’s the most consistent player on the team.”
Seniors also cheered for Kim Ha-seong. Choo Shin-soo recently mentioned Ha-seong Kim in an interview after Ha-sung Kim surpassed his stolen base record, saying, “There is only room for improvement in the future, and it was nice to see.”
In this way, Kim Ha-seong has successfully established himself in the major leagues. Now, it is necessary to pay attention to his performance that he will show beyond his respected seniors.