Cincinnati Reds' Shin-Soo Choo, right, touches home after hitting a solo home run as teammate Todd Frazier watches during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals Tuesday. (AP-Yonhap News)
Choo Shin-soo of the Cincinnati Reds belted his 100th career Major League Baseball (MLB) home run on Tuesday against the St. Louis Cardinals on the road.
Choo hit the milestone home run off St. Louis starter Joe Kelly in the fifth inning at Busch Stadium. It was his 17th long ball of this season.
In his first season with the Reds, Choo has been one of the most productive outfielders and leadoff men in all of National League (NL). Before the game against the Cards, Choo ranked second in the NL in on-base percentage (.413) and walks (86), and was tied for second with two other players in runs scored (86).
The 31-year-old played his first MLB game with the Seattle Mariners in 2005 and was traded to the Cleveland Indians during the
2006 season. He didn't become a regular big leaguer until 2008.
A top pitching prospect in high school, Choo has been an outfielder throughout his big league career. After manning the right field and mostly batting third in the lineup for the Indians, Choo became the everyday center fielder and leadoff hitter for the Reds after joining the NL club in a trade last December.
Choo also had 16 stolen bases before Tuesday's game. He is on pace to post his third career "20-20" season, with at least 20 home runs and 20 steals.
For his career, Choo has 100 home runs and 101 steals in 826 games.
Choo is the second South Korean position player to play in the big leagues, after first baseman Choi Hee-seop. Choi spent four MLB seasons with the Chicago Cubs, the Florida (now Miami) Marlins and the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2002 to 2005, and had 40 home runs and 120 RBI with a .240 batting average in 363 games.
Choo will become a free agent after this season and could command a lucrative, multi-year contract with a team seeking production from the outfield. He's making US$7.37 million this season. (Yonhap News)