Choi Jung (36-SSG Rangers) became the third player in Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) history to reach the 20-homer mark for eight consecutive years.
He tied Noh Si-hwan (23-Hanwha Eagles) for the home run crown with 20 homers.
In the top of the ninth inning of a 4-6 loss to the visiting Samsung Lions at Samsung Lions Park in Daegu, South Korea, Choi took advantage of opposing closer Oh Seung-hwan and hit a solo arch over the left field wall.
Although the team lost 5-6, Choi had no laughing matter, his ninth-inning blast gave him 20 home runs this season.
It came 34 days after he hit his 19th home run for the Samsung Electronics Co. in Incheon on June 24.
In the meantime, Choi pulled a thigh muscle and the KBO took a break for the All-Star break.
Choi got his home run machine going again, extending his 20-homer streak from 2016 to eight seasons.
The KBO record for consecutive 20-homer seasons is nine, held by Park Byung-ho (37-KT WIZ) from 2012 to 2022 (2016 and 2017 were spent in Major League Baseball).
Korean baseball’s leading home run hitter, Lee Seung-yeop of the Doosan Bears, also held the record for eight consecutive 20-homer seasons (eight years in a row from 1997-2012 – 2004-2011 was in Nippon Professional Baseball).
The first player to reach the 20-homer plateau this season is Noh Si-hwan.
Choi and Noh finished the first half tied for the home run lead with 19, and Noh hit the first home run of the second half against the Gocheok Kiwoom Heroes on May 25 to reach the 20-homer mark.
Choi Jeong-jeong hit a home run two days later to regain the lead.
Choi has a slight advantage in the home run race, as he will be representing Korea at the Asian Games, which begin on September 23, and the KBO has decided not to interrupt the regular season this time around.
Noh will not be able to play in the KBO for more than two weeks to prepare for the Hangzhou Asian Games.
If Choi, who has won the home run title three times in his career (2016, 2017, and 2021), stays in contention with Noh for the next two months, he will have a better chance of becoming the fourth player to win the title.
Choi is also closing in on Lee’s record for career home runs.
The gap between Choi, who is second with 449 homers, and Lee, 먹튀검증 who retired with 467, has shrunk to 18.
With 1,341 runs scored, Choi is 14 runs shy of Lee’s record of 1,355, and is expected to become the KBO’s all-time leader in runs scored this season.