The final leader of the unprecedented “Korea, the U.S., and Japan 522 saves” is about to dedicate himself to the 2024 season.
400 saves in the KBO League. This is the story of Oh Seung-hwan (41), a “living legend” who is writing an unprecedented record of 522 saves in Korea, the U.S., and daily life, as he prepares for next season.
Oh Seung-hwan, who won the Record of the Year Award at the 2023 Professional Baseball Sports Seoul Awards held on the 30th of last month. Even at the age of 41 this year, he recorded 4 wins, 5 losses, 2 holds, 30 saves, and an ERA of 3.45 in 58 games (62 ⅔ innings) and achieved a record of 400 saves in the KBO League with two walks and no runs in one ⅓ against SSG on October 14.
After graduating from Gyeonggi High School and Dankook University, he started his professional career in 2005 wearing a Samsung uniform in his third year of joining the team in 2007, starting with 100 saves in the minimum game and the shortest season, and simultaneously breaking the minimum game and youngest record in 2009 and 2011, completing 150 saves and 200 saves, respectively. In particular, his 200 saves in 334 games was the minimum world record for games.
Oh Seung-hwan achieved 250, 300, 350, and 400 saves for the first time in the KBO League, creating a milestone that no one can meet in the save category. From 2014 to 2019, he accumulated saves at a tremendous pace, even though he had been away from the KBO League for six years due to overseas expansion. In June, he recorded 500 saves in the Korea-U.S.-Japan integration and reached the long-awaited 400 save mark in the final home game against SSG on October 14.
Samsung signed a four-year contract with closer Kim Jae-yoon on the FA market on October 22 for a total of 5.8 billion won. Kim Jae-yoon is a special closer who has achieved 30 saves for three consecutive years. With Kim Jae-yoon coming, attention is also being paid to whether Oh Seung-hwan, the “final leader,” will be able to serve as a closer.
Oh Seung-hwan said, “We have a good closing pitcher called Kim Jae-yoon, so it will definitely help the team. With such a player coming, the team can become stronger and the bullpen can become stronger. Our team has always been pointed out as the biggest problem. I want to play any role if my team can win one more game. I also told the general manager that. “The coach will decide the position, but the goal is for the team to win a lot no matter how many times it is played or wherever it goes,” he said.
Oh Seung-hwan, who bowed his head saying, “I think I’m making a lie promise to Samsung fans every time,” said, “I’ve been doing that for several years now. The team needs to win more to keep its promise with the fans. “I think it’s a stupid idea to stick to the position of a closer,” he said, stressing his team’s victory.
Oh Seung-hwan said, “FA and age don’t match very well. Still, I want to talk to the team well. Without a team called the Samsung Lions, there would be no player named Oh Seung-hwan. That’s why it’s natural to draw a good picture until the end. But I still have greed in the back of my mind. So I want to get good results again, and at the end, I really want to show you a season that is good enough for Samsung to win first place, and I also want to show you a season that is good enough to talk about my age,” he said.
Oh Seung-hwan, the best closing pitcher in KBO league history, expressed his intention to commit to winning the team without sticking to his position despite Samsung’s recruitment as a FA closer. Oh Seung-hwan’s determination for the Team Lions resonates like a “living legend,” even though he has qualified as a C-rated FA without a compensation player.