Hanwha living legend Jung Woo-ram (38) became the first pitcher in a single Asian league to make 1003 career appearances.
He surpassed Hitoki Iwase’s (49) record of 1002 games in Nippon Professional Baseball.
Jung worked a one-hitter in the eighth inning of a 7-2 home win over Lotte in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at Daejeon’s Hanwha Life Eagles Park on Friday.
He induced Bae Young-bin to ground out to third base and Ahn Kwon-soo and Kim Min-seok to ground out to second base to keep things simple with seven pitches.
Hanwha manager Choi Won-ho greeted Jung Woo-ram in the dugout as soon as he finished the inning.
He gave him a congratulatory bouquet and hugged him, and he received a warm welcome from the younger players.
The home crowd also applauded and cheered him on.
With this appearance, Jung reached the 1003rd game of his career.
He surpassed the 1002 games played by Iwase, who holds the most saves in Nippon Professional Baseball history with 407.
Iwase pitched 1002 games in 19 seasons from 1999 to 2018, with the exception of 2015, when he was sidelined with an elbow injury.
After retiring in 2018, Iwase’s record remained unbroken in Japan, but was surpassed by Jung Woo-ram in the KBO. For reference, the record for most games pitched in Taiwan is 636. 먹튀검증
In the American Major Leagues, Jesse Orozco is the all-time leader with 1252 games.
After becoming the first KBO pitcher to reach the 1,000-game milestone in the NC game against the Daejeon Tigers on Feb. 2, Jung Woo-ram went on to pitch three more games, making him the most prolific pitcher in Asia.
The KBO, which was founded in 1982 and is now in its 42nd year, started 46 years later than Nippon Professional Baseball, which has been in existence since 1936.
The 1003-game pitcher who pitched in Korea, which is far behind Japan in the history of professional baseball, said after the game, “It means as much to me as 1000 games.
I think it’s a sign that I’ve been playing steadily without injury,” he said after the game.
“I was able to stand on the mound because the younger players scored runs with concentration, and I was able to come down after one inning because the younger players handled the balls with good defense,” said Jung, who was happy to receive a ring as a surprise from the younger players at the pre-game ceremony the previous day (14).
“I would like to thank all the players on my team and the manager for giving me the opportunity,” he added.
After graduating from Gyeongnam Sango and being drafted by SK (now SSG) with the 11th overall pick in the second round in 2004, Jung made his professional debut on April 21 of that year, making his first appearance for Munhwa Hanwha, and amassed 1003 games over 18 seasons.
He was so consistent that he had 16 seasons of 50 or more appearances, including a season-high 85 in 2008.
In 977 career innings pitched, he has a 64-47 record, 197 saves, 145 holds, a 3.18 ERA, and 937 strikeouts. He ranks sixth all-time in saves and fourth in holds, the only pitcher in the top 10 in both categories.
He has pitched in 50 games in 12 consecutive seasons (2008-2021, 2nd all-time) and double-digit saves in eight consecutive seasons (2012-2021, 3rd all-time).
In addition to the regular season, he also pitched in the postseason, totaling 31 games in the Korean Series (15 games), playoffs (10 games), semi-playoffs (5 games), and wild card (1 game).
He also wore the colors of the Korean national team, appearing in six games, including three at the 2015 Premier12 and three at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta-Palembang.