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Our annual Byung-Hyun Kim report

Jan 27, 2011, 9:31 AM EDT

Byung-Hung Kim

There are some guys whose movements I’ll always track no matter how far away they get from major league baseball. Jose Canseco. Jose Lima before he died (and don’t think I won’t post more stuff about him eventually). Another one is Byung-Hyun Kim, who has fascinated me for years.  NPB Tracker reports that he has signed a deal with the Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Japanese Pacific League.

Why do I care about Kim? I don’t know. Probably because of those home runs he gave up in the 2001 World Series to Paul O’Neill and Tino Martinez.  At the time I was really glad that the Diamondbacks came back and won it because it would have been devastating for the guy if he was made the goat.  But as it has happened, he has still been a big enough punchline as a result of it. Unlike the Bill Buckners of the world, however, he hasn’t gotten the sympathetic reassessment that truly infamous goats often get.  Probably doesn’t help that, unlike Buckner, Kim wasn’t an outstanding player for many years. The fact that he’s Korean is likely another factor.

He’s a curiosity to me I suppose, as are all people who are identified so strongly by dubious achievements.

  1. BC - Jan 27, 2011 at 9:58 AM

    He’s gotta be like 38 years old at this point? Wow. Guess they were desperate for pitching.

    • bigxrob - Jan 27, 2011 at 11:00 AM

      They are the Yankees of the Far east.

    • Adam - Jan 27, 2011 at 11:07 AM

      He’s 32. So not exactly a washed up old veteran. Well, maybe washed up.

      • BC - Jan 27, 2011 at 11:10 AM

        Jeez. Only 32? Wow, so he was like 20 or 21 when he came up.

  2. fribnit - Jan 27, 2011 at 10:53 AM

    Kim gave up home runs to Tino Martinez, Derek Jeter and Scott Brosius. He gave up a sngle to Paul O’Niell and that started the first comeback.

  3. Glenn - Jan 27, 2011 at 10:57 AM

    As Red Sox fan, I’ve been tracking him, too – like Jeremiah Johnson I have – hoping to see his tracks lead up to the edge of a cliff and disappear. Of course, he’d still be alive and probably swing up and crane-kick me in the neck.

    I don’t dislike him because he was a goat for the Diamondbacks or because he was Korean (really, Craig?). I dislike him because the Sox invested a lot of time and money into him with little back, while he came off as some malcontent who lacked heart. Despite this, I defended the guy up until the bitter end, so maybe I carry the revenge of the duped. It ended up that his only value was in that we traded for him an even bigger malcontent and waste of a roster spot in Shea Hillenbrand, which freed up at bats for Big Papi. You know the rest of that story.

  4. hasbeen5 - Jan 27, 2011 at 12:18 PM

    The HRs to Jeter and Brosius I attribute to plain old suck. But, and this is just my opinion, he shouldn’t have been pitching to O’neill or Martinez. A fastball from a sidearm righty breaks toward the handle of a RH batter, which is what makes them tough to hit. But to a lefty, it breaks right into the barrel. Also, the pitch isn’t coming from behind their back like it is to a righty. This is why sidearmers are usually righty/lefty specialists, and exposing them to hitters of the opposite side rarely goes well.

    All that said, that’s my eye test. I don’t have time to look up stats to support or debunk.

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