100 million club per year Joo Hyun-sang and Yoon Dae-kyung’s bold pledge

Joo Hyun-sang and Yoon Dae-kyung (Hanwha Eagles) promised to do well this season.

Joo Hyun-sang and Yoon Dae-kyung are players with dramatic stories. First, Joo Hyun-sang, a right-handed pitcher, entered the professional league in 2015 after being called by the Hanwha Eagles 64 times overall in the second and seventh rounds. At that time, his position was as an infielder.

After completing his military service as a social service worker from 2017 to 2019, Joo Hyun-sang announced that he would change to a pitcher in late 2019. After sweating to improve his skills, he was able to take the mound in the first division for the first time in 2021.

Notably, Joo had a significant period last year. He joined the secondary league in a somewhat sluggish manner early in the season, but he continued to throw balls without being swayed. As a result, he played in 55 games (59.2 innings) and became one of the best bullpen pitchers in the league, recording two wins, two losses and 12 holds with an earned run average of 1.96. The only time he garnered an earned run average of around one point at the Hanwha Eagles last year was because of Joo.

Yoon Dae-kyung, who was drafted by the Samsung Lions as the 65th pick in the seventh round in 2013, also had many ups and downs in his baseball career. Also an infielder, he chose to switch to a pitcher in 2014, but was released after the 2018 season.

However, Yoon Dae-kyung never gave up his dream of becoming a baseball player. After getting tested in Japan’s independent league, he joined Niigata Albirex and continued his career. He was then able to rejoin the pro league by signing a contract with Hanwha in July 2019.

Since then, Yoon Dae-kyung has revealed his true worth last year. Playing in 47 games (47.2 innings), Yoon has displayed good performance as a lubricant for Hanwha’s bullpen, posting 5 wins, 1 loss, 2 holds and an ERA of 2.45.

After many twists and turns, Joo Hyun-sang and Yoon Dae-kyung, who showed great performance last year, stamped their seals side by side at 110 million won, up 52 million won and 20 million won, respectively, this season.

The two players, who joined the 100 million club annually and have a great sense of responsibility, recently expressed their aspirations this season through the club.

Next is Joo Hyun-sang, Yoon Dae-kyung, and a question-and-answer session.

Q. How do you feel about getting over 100 million won a year.

I signed a contract a few days before leaving because I am here as an advance team for this camp. I felt proud as a breadwinner. My wife is satisfied, and I am proud that it can be a basis for my father’s hard work in my field. I felt really good, and that made me think that I should be of help to the team in the future.

Yoon) – I can’t believe it because I didn’t receive my first salary yet, but I was very happy at the time of signing the contract. It was hard to hide my joy because 100 million won a year is a symbol for a baseball player, and now I have greed and confidence that if I work harder, I can get a bigger salary. I also feel a great responsibility to the team that recognized my value.

Q. All of them turned fielders into pitchers and joined the club with an annual salary of 100 million won (approximately 100 million U.S. dollars). I think they will have a unique feeling.

Honestly, I had a lot of chances as a rookie, but as the number of business trips to the first team decreased significantly from the second year, I was worried about whether I could play baseball more than I thought about my salary. While working for the public interest and watching my team play fall baseball, I really wanted to play baseball. I really wanted to play baseball more, so I turned into a pitcher with a minimum annual salary, and I am proud to have a good result of 100 million won in annual salary and one point earned run average in just three years after my debut in the first team. The biggest difference and good thing is that I used to train thinking about how to play baseball more, but now I can only look forward and play baseball.

Yoon) – When I came to Hanwha after being released from the military, my salary was the lowest. Outstanding players sometimes get paid hundreds of millions of dollars in just two years after their debut, but I turned around and exceeded 100 million won. Still, I don’t care about such things. It was something I could never have dreamed of getting 100 million won a year just a few years ago. To be honest, I think I am now going to camp in Australia because I got a lot of luck and unexpected opportunities. Now I have confidence that if I try hard for my annual salary of 200 million won, it can come true. Having experienced many setbacks and trial and error, I have this confidence, which is what I earn more than my annual salary.

Q. The reason why both of them played like this after turning to pitchers is probably because they worked harder than others.

After turning into a pitcher after serving in the public service, I trained with rookies in Seosan as a military player. At that time, I was 29 years old, but training with 19-year-old juniors made me want to come. Although there is a big age gap, I trained with the mindset that I will not lose to my juniors, and I will not miss the top ranks regardless of whether I run or train. In fact, I did not fall behind those juniors. I think it is helping now that I did my best without paying attention to baseball because I desperately wanted to play it.

Yoon)- Actually, I was blessed. Many people helped me and gave me opportunities. Among those help, coach Song Jin-woo said, “You definitely need a change-up,” and I dug into it as if studying for the rest of the year after finishing training every day for half a year. When I heard that I needed it, I felt like I was digging only one well. Throwing a box of change-ups every day gave me a hard time, but now that’s my new weapon. I couldn’t imagine myself without that period.

Q: The annual salary of 100 million won may be a fulfillment of one’s dream, but it becomes a new role model for junior players. Do you have any advice.

I started pitching at a really late age. I started pitching at 31 years old, so it’s very late (laughs). The younger players in my team now have a lot more days to play baseball than I do. I don’t think my skills are as bad as mine. I’ve been to both the Futures and Futures teams, and even if the younger players are in the Futures and Yook Sung now, I hope they don’t give up.


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