Lee Jong-beom, once South Korea’s most complete baseball player, on Wednesday became a coach for the Hanwha Eagles in the nation’s top league.
The Eagles of the Korea Baseball Organization said Lee, 42, signed a one-year deal worth 50 million won ($44,900) to be their base running coach.
Lee, who ended his 16-year career with the Kia Tigers earlier this year, will work under his former Tigers manager, Kim Euong-yong. The Eagles named Kim their new manager on Monday.
Lee and Kim won the Korean Series championships in 1993, 1996 and 1997.
“I decided to join Hanwha after manager Kim, my great mentor, sought out my help,” Lee said. “I will try to learn more about the players and share my experience and knowledge with them the best I can.”
The Eagles finished last among eight KBO teams this season with 53 wins, 77 losses and three ties. It was the second straight season in the league cellar for the Eagles, who have not been to the postseason since 2007.
They fired Han Dae-hwa as their manager in August and Han Yong-deok, their bench coach, served as the interim manager to finish the season last week.
Lee, who split his career as a shortstop and an outfielder, was the KBO’s first true “five-tool” player, someone who could hit for power and average, steal bases, play defense and boast a cannon for an arm. That all-around talent earned him the moniker, “Baseball Genius.” (Yonhap News)