“Loss” after 23 years? A 42-year-old veteran who has been 23 years later said, “I look at tomorrow rather than today.”

Kim Kang-min (42) of the Hanwha Eagles was the hottest potato in this winter. His move was quite different from other “transfer FA” players such as An Chi-hong, who moved to another team, and Kim Jae-yoon, who left KT to join Samsung.

Unlike Kim Kwang-hyun and Choo Shin-soo, he represented Incheon baseball in the 2000s as a “real one-club man.” He graduated from Kyungpook High School and worked for SK-SSG for 23 years as a rookie draft in 2001.

He was nicknamed the “beast” of the outfield. He was the object of fear to batters. At the very moment, he would catch up with the ball that almost cut into the middle of the outfield. He also garnered many runners at third base and home due to his strong shoulders. He contributed as a rookie, center fielder, and veteran to the fifth championship of the Incheon Baseball Organization. The MVP of the 2022 Korean Series was Kim Kang-min.

However, the club, which felt burdened by the salary cap extension contract this winter, recommended retirement, and Kim wanted to extend his career for “one more year” with his friend Choo Shin-soo. Of course, when Kim refused to retire from SSG and train as a coach, he had no intention of leaving Incheon.

However, he was excluded in the second draft and changed his uniform to Hanwha. Following the change of the head coach, the team’s general manager was also replaced.

After the miraculous autumn baseball in 2018, Hanwha has been recording the 9-10-10-9th place password for five years. I deeply experienced that rebuilding does not happen just because it provides a place for young players and actively employs them.

The presence of players who can overcome the undercooked “children” with their skills and lead them from experience is important. Hanwha, which benefited greatly from the Chae Eun-seong effect last year, focused on this area by reinforcing Ahn Chi-hong and Kim Kang-min again this winter. The Hanwha outfield, which is rebuilding with youthful energy including Lee Jin-young, Choi In-ho, and Euro Gyeol, is still loose. Kim Kang-min is a player who shines not only in his skills but also in his value as a “mental supporter” who will pass on experience, encourage and lead him.

Now, Kim starts anew at Hanwha. He is building his physical fitness this winter with Lee Myung-ki, who played with him when he was with SK. He has also maintained close relationships with veteran FA players, including Ahn Chi-hong and Chae Eun-sung, while building leadership.

“I have made up my mind since I first came here. I will look at tomorrow rather than today. I want to keep the past memories in my heart and make good memories with Hanwha fans. I have high expectations,” Kim said.


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