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Ex-All-Star catcher to have retirement ceremony on weekend

Former All-Star catcher Hong Sung-heon will have a retirement ceremony this weekend with his two former clubs on hand.

The Doosan Bears of the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) said Tuesday they will hold a retirement ceremony for the 40-year-old before Sunday's home game against the Lotte Giants at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul.

Hong already announced his retirement last November after 18 seasons in the KBO -- 14 in two different stints with the Bears and four with the Giants. He had been undergoing coaching training in the minor leagues in the San Diego Padres system, but will return to Seoul briefly for Sunday's ceremony.


The Bears said they will play a highlight clip of Hong's career on the scoreboard, and present Hong with commemorative gifts.

Hong made his KBO debut in 1999 with the Bears as catcher and won the Rookie of the Year after batting .258 with 11 home runs and 63 RBIs.

He also thrived internationally, backstopping South Korea to gold medals at the 1998 and 2002 Asian Games and a bronze medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics.

Hong became a part-time outfielder and then a full-time designated hitter later in his career.

He is retiring with 208 homers, 1,120 RBIs, 2,046 hits and a .301 average for his career.

Hong is the first right-handed hitter in KBO history to record more than 2,000 hits, and ranks fourth all-time in the category. (Yonhap)