|Participants pose for photographers at a the unveiling of a statue of Choi Dong-won near the Sajik Baseball Stadium in Busan on Saturday. (Yonhap News)|
The statue of a legendary Korean pitcher, Choi Dong-won, was unveiled near the Sajik Baseball Stadium in Busan on Saturday.
The 2.4-meter-high statue depicts the Busan native in mid-pitch.
The unveiling ceremony was attended by his mother, wife and son, Busan Mayor Hur Nam-sik, regional lawmakers, professional league officials and players, and citizens.
Twenty-eight members of the baseball team from his high school alma mater, Kyungnam High, also paid their respects at the ceremony.
Dubbed an “iron arm” pitcher, Choi finished the Korean professional championship series with an astonishing 4-1 record in 1984. His records for the most wins (4) and most innings pitched (40) in a single championship series is still unbroken.
The unveiling also marked the second anniversary of his death. He died of colon cancer at 53. He is survived by his wife, son and brother.
Founded in April 2012, a civic group has raised 230 million won from the Busan-based Lotte Giants, Busan Bank, BN Group, professional players and citizens, to build the statue and push other commemorative projects for the pitcher.
“The statue is a great cultural artifact as well as a show of pride for Korean baseball history,” said attorney Kwon Ki-woo, who led the campaign to honor Choi. “It will inspire youngsters with hopes and dreams.”
The group also offered scholarships in Choi’s honor during the unveiling ceremony.
It seeks to establish the “Choi Dong-won Award,” a prize corresponding to the Cy Young Award, an honor given annually to the best pitchers in the Major League Baseball.
Choi joined the Giants in 1983 and posted 80 career complete wins. In 1984, he scored 27 wins, including four championship series victories, and 223 strikeouts.
He was traded to the Samsung Lions in 1989 and retired in 1990.
He was portrayed in the 2011 film, “Perfect Game,” a movie about two rival pitchers in the 1980s, Choi and Sun Dong-ryul.
By Chun Sung-woo (firstname.lastname@example.org