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Hanwha Eagles manager resigns

Han Dai-hwa (File photo)
Han Dai-hwa (File photo)
Han Dai-hwa, manager of the Hanwha Eagles, has resigned from his post to take responsibility for the team’s poor performance in the Korean pro-baseball league.

The club was said to have told Han late Monday night that his contract would be terminated early. The club announced his resignation Tuesday morning. It is the first time Hanwha has replaced its manager during a season. His three-year contract was to expire at the end of this year. There are 28 games left in the season.

“Han has been under stress over the team’s poor record. He expressed his intention to resign, and we accepted it,” the club said. “Coach Han Yong-deok will take over from today as the interim manager for the rest of the season.”

Han began to manage the Eagles in 2010 after serving as top coach of the Samsung Lions.

Hanwha is last among eight teams in the pro league as of Monday with 39 wins, 64 losses and two draws. The team finished Han’s first season with the Eagles at the bottom eighth, and shared sixth place with the LG Twins last year.

The club sought to bounce back this year by signing slugger Kim Tae-kyun from the Japanese pro league, Park Chan-ho who pitched to 124 wins in the U.S. major leagues, and Song Shin-young, a former LG pitcher. Still, it remained stuck in the bottom rung of the standings.

The 52-year-old native of Daejeon, where the Eagles are based, turned pro in 1983 with the OB Bears, currently the Doosan Bears, and moved on to the Haitai Tigers in 1986, the LG Twins in 1994 and the Ssangbangwool Raiders in 1997.

His heyday was with the Haitai Tigers, now the Kia Tigers, between 1986 and 1993, during which the Gwangju-based club won six championship titles.

Over his 15-season, 1,331-game career, he recorded a batting average of .279, 163 home runs, 1,190 hits and 712 RBIs.

He was the batting champion in 1990, and the MVP of the All-Star game in 1988. He also won a record eight Gold Gloves, including six in a row from 1986 to 1991.

He impressed local fans as an amateur player in the final game of the world championship against Japan in 1982 when he hit a game-winning triple for the 5-2 underdog triumph.

After retiring in 1997, he managed the Seoul-based Dongguk University baseball team from 1998 to 2003, and began a coaching career at the Samsung Lions in 2004.

Hanwha is expected to name its new manager next year, as there are few games left in the season.

By Chun Sung-woo (