He was strong in a big game. In the semifinal 토토사이트 match against Venezuela, he scored the first 3 points against the starting pitcher and fired a solo shot at Hisashi Iwakuma, who played the role of a one-two punch in the final match against Japan. He didn’t hit consistently, but he hit home runs when needed and had a big-league performance in the 2009 World Baseball Classic (WBC). This is the story of Choo Shin-soo (41), the only active MLB player on the Korean national team at the time.
The record shows Choo Shin-soo as it is. Choo Shin-soo played mainly as the 5th hitter in 7 WBC games, recording a batting average of 0.188, an on-base percentage of 0.409, a slugging percentage of 0.563 and 4 RBIs. His hits were only three, but two of those three were home runs. He was in charge of the national team’s cleanup with an OPS of 0.972 along with Kim Tae-gyun and Kim Hyun-soo. He returned from injury in the 2008 season, which belonged to Cleveland, and reproduced his active performance with an OPS of 0.946 in international competitions.
Choo Shin-soo’s 2009 WBC performance has been talked about for a long time. Coach Joong-il Ryu, who was the coach of the 2009 WBC national team, said, “During batting training, the quality of batting was different from other players. He was so good at batting that he just stared at him in dismay. Looking at Choo Shin-soo, he felt that MLB players are different.”
And, of course, at the 2013 WBC held four years later, Choo Shin-soo was the starting zero. Director Ryu Joong-il, who took the baton, also wanted Choo Shin-soo to join. However, Choo Shin-soo was facing a free agent (FA) and faced a change called transfer through trade. In December 2012, Cleveland traded Choo Shin-soo to Cincinnati with a year before free agency.
As the uniform changed, so did his position. Choo Shin-soo, who was mainly active as a right fielder in Cleveland, played center fielder in Cincinnati. His batting order was also fixed with a leadoff. At an important point, he faced a big change, and Shin-soo Choo expressed his intention to focus on the Cincinnati spring camp, not the WBC.
In the 2013 season, Choo Shin-soo had a career high season in Cincinnati. According to fan graphs, he flew with a WAR of 6.4 and a wRC of +150. He established himself as a leadoff representing MLB and in December 2013 signed a large contract with Texas for 7 years and $130 million. At that time, it is still the largest contract in Korean big league history. The process that took place ahead of the free agency was the moment toward success.
Again four years later, at the 2017 WBC held in Korea, Choo Shin-soo was among the candidates for boarding. In the 2016 season, due to injury, he only played 48 games, but the Korean national team predicted that Shin-soo Choo’s experience would give strength to the team. However, this time, his team, Texas, was against competing in the WBC. Frequent injuries and surgeries put a question mark on his physical condition, and with four years remaining on his contract, Shin-soo Choo was prevented from wearing the Taegeuk mark. Kim Hyun-soo, who was a member of MLB Baltimore at the time, was absent from the WBC for similar reasons. Kim Hyun-soo, who participated in almost all international competitions, was the only one he did not attend was the 2017 WBC.
Choo Shin-soo recently looked back on the situation at the time. He appeared on a Korean radio show in Dallas, Texas and said, “In 2016, I was injured four times during the season. He almost broke his calf, so he took 8 weeks off, had back surgery, and also broke his wrist from being hit with a dead ball. And at the camp to welcome 2017, I talked to the club about the WBC,” he said. He recalled, “How much is the annual salary we give you, but what if you go and get hurt?”
It’s just a if, but if Choo Shin-soo had joined at the 2013 and 2017 WBC, the Korean national team might have achieved better results. Conversely, if the national team had performed well in the last two WBCs, there would have been less regret at Choo Shin-soo’s absence. At the Tokyo Olympics held in 2021 and the upcoming 2023 WBC, Choo Shin-soo belongs to the KBO League, not MLB. Although he is still consistently on base in his team, SSG, he has been excluded from the national team selection as his heyday has passed.