Considered one of history’s premier power pitchers
It was another sad day for the Korean baseball league as Choi Dong-won, an all-time favorite pitcher, died of cancer Wednesday. He was 53.
His death came just one week after fans and players were in mourning for the loss of legendary hitter Jang Hyo-jo, who also died of cancer at the age of 55.
The former Lotte Giants pitcher was first diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2007, and was treated until recently at a hospital in Goyang, west of Seoul.
Choi Dong-won pitched eight seasons in the KBO, six with the Giants, based in his hometown of Busan. (Yonhap News)
The exuberant right-hander first came into the limelight after he helped Korea win a medal in the 1980 Amateur World Series.
He made his professional debut with the Giants in 1983. He went 9-16 with four saves and a 2.89 ERA in his debut season.
He had his best season in 1984, when he went 27-13 with a 2.40 ERA. In that year, he led the league with 223 strikeouts and won the MVP award. He pitched more than 200 innings for the Giants in his first five seasons, gaining the nickname “Iron arm.” He helped the team win the Korea Series title in 1984.
Choi also pitched for the Samsung Lions in the 1989 and 1990 seasons, before retiring from baseball at the age of 32. He has a career record of 103-74 with a 2.46 ERA.
He returned to the Korean baseball league in 2005 as the pitching coach for the Hanwha Eagles. He also managed Hanwha’s minor league team from 2006 to 2008.
By Oh Kyu-wook (email@example.com