SPORTS

Ex-All-Star catcher, reliever announce retirements

By Yonhap
  • Published : Nov 8, 2017 - 11:31
  • Updated : Nov 8, 2017 - 11:31

A former All-Star catcher and a reliever each announced their retirement from the Korea Baseball Organization on Wednesday.

A 42-year-old backstop Cho In-sung announced his decision through the Korea Professional Baseball Players Association earlier in the day. He'd been without a team after getting released by the Hanwha Eagles in June.

Cho has wrapped up a 20-year career spent with three different clubs. He enjoyed his best years with the LG Twins, which drafted him in 1998.

Known for his strong throwing arm from behind the plate -- he sometimes threw out base stealers from a sitting position -- Cho enjoyed his best offensive season in 2010 at age 35. He batted .317 with 28 home runs and 107 RBIs, all career-highs. That ended up being the only season in which Cho hit better than .300 or had more than 20 home runs.

In this file photo taken March 21, 2017, Cho In-sung of the Hanwha Eagles steps into the batter`s box against the NC Dinos in the top of the sixth inning of their Korea Baseball Organization preseason game at Masan Stadium in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province. Cho announced his retirement Nov. 8, 2017. (Yonhap)

"I've been playing baseball for 34 years, and retirement hasn't hit me yet," Cho said in a statement. "I feel like I'll be heading to a practice tomorrow."

Cho thanked baseball fans for their support and said he'll now try to get back to them. He said he will visit middle school and high school teams around the country to donate his time and money to help young players.

In his career, Cho batted .252 with 186 home runs and 801 RBIs in 1,948 games. He ranks 15th all-time in career games played.

Later in the day, 37-year-old right-hander Jung Jae-hoon also called it quits after 14 years in the KBO.

He spent 13 of those seasons with the Doosan Bears and was the club's closer from 2005 to 2008, recording 111 saves in that time.

In this file photo taken June 12, 2016, Jung Jae-hoon of the Doosan Bears throws a pitch against the Lotte Giants in the top of the ninth inning of their Korea Baseball Organization regular season game at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul. Jung announced his retirement Nov. 8, 2017. (Yonhap)

Jung battled injuries late in his career and didn't make any appearances in 2017. He underwent surgery after taking a batted ball to his right forearm in August 2016 and, four months later, had a separate operation on his right shoulder.

Jung went 35-44 with 139 saves and a 3.14 ERA in 555 appearances.

"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed, but I am more grateful than anything else," he said in a statement released by the Bears. "I've been able to play as long as I did thanks to support from everyone around me."

Jung said the Bears have offered him a coaching position but he'll think long and hard about his post-retirement plans before making a decision. (Yonhap)