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Lee Seung-yeop bags 2,000th career hit

Samsung’s “Lion King” Lee Seung-yeop notched his 2,000th career hit on Tuesday marking another milestone for the Korean baseball player.

The veteran slugger finished Tuesday’s game against the Lotte Giants at Busan Sajik Baseball Stadium with a career-total 2,001 hits, making the 35-year-old the fourth Korean player to reach the mark.

The Samsung Lions first baseman achieved the record over 1,962 games in 18 seasons with the Korean Baseball Organization and the Japanese Nippon Professional Baseball.

Before Lee went off to play for the Japanese league in 2004, he had racked 1,286 hits since his debut with the Samsung Lions in 1995. In Japan Lee recorded 686 hits between stints with the Lotte Marines, Yomiuri Giants and Orix Buffaloes through 2011 before returning home. Lee returned to Samsung for 2012, fitting as he was born in the heart of the Lions’ den, Daegu.
Samsung slugger Lee Seung-yeop (Yonhap News)
Samsung slugger Lee Seung-yeop (Yonhap News)

The five-time Most Valuable Player, was the five-time season leader for number of runs scored and homeruns, and the four-time leader for RBIs.

Before going overseas, Lee had an average OPS of 1.024 with a high of 1.217 in 2003.

The records race is hardly over for Lee, as he is expected to hit a career homerun record of 500 within this season. Even within the KBO, Lee is expected to surpass retired batter Yang Joon-hyuk’s career homerun record of 351. Lee has hit 329 homers for the Lions.

Lee follows behind veteran player Lee Jong-beom, who retired earlier this year to cap off a 20-year-career, as the second player to rack up 2,000 hits in Korean and Japanese leagues.

Korean sluggers Yang and Jeon Joon-ho are the only ones to pass the mark solely within the KBO. Yang, also a former Lions, retired in 2010 to become a commentator while Jeon is manager for the NC Dinos, the KBO’s ninth team starting 2013, after retiring in 2009.

However, as Korean baseball only has a 31-year-old history, the professional league here has room to grow. In Japan, 40 sluggers have hit the 2,000 mark in its over 60-year history, and in the U.S. the Major League Baseball has seen 268 batters pass 2,000 mark over 143 years.

By Robert Lee (robert@heraldcorp.com)
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