Kang Jeong-ho, 36, who retired in disgrace after a drunken-driving strikeout felony, is showing signs of success as a hitting coach. He helped NC’s Son Ah-seop become the first batting champion in history.
In his 17th professional season this year, Son led the league in batting average and runs scored, hitting .333 with 187 hits, five home runs and 65 RBIs in 140 games. His batting average narrowly edged out Samsung’s Koo Ja-ruk (3-for-3, 6RBI), while his hits were a dramatic one ahead of Kiwoom’s Kim Hye-sung (186). Son, who had only finished second twice in his career, made up for it by winning his first career batting title and fourth career RBI title. He also took home the Golden Globe for Designated Hitter.
At the recent Golden Globe Awards ceremony, Son said, “I prepared with a desperate heart. When I was younger, if I had a bad season, I had another chance, but when you get older and have a bad season, there’s a sense of crisis. There was a lot of talk about the aging curve. “I prepared with my brother (Kang) Jeong-ho with a desperate heart. I really suffered a lot in Los Angeles with my brother,” and credited his visit to Kang’s academy as the key to his rise to the top of the batting order.
Son traveled to Los Angeles ahead of the 2023 spring training and took hitting lessons at the baseball academy Kang founded after his retirement.
He worked with Kang, who was one of the best shortstops in the KBO and made it to the major leagues, to correct his batting form, which led to his first batting title in his 17th year as a professional.
“His (Kang) lessons are not very special. It’s just detailed. He explains the direction of the drills and the reasons for correcting the swing mechanics with precise facts. He gives you direction in a way that’s easy to understand.” “I guess you could say he gives you a shortcut. He teaches you the quickest way without going back. It helped me find my own mechanics that I had forgotten,” he said, explaining the benefits of Kang’s school.
“My brother also said that he learned a lot from meeting good pitchers in the United States. He realized that he couldn’t survive in America if he did what he did in Korea. 온라인카지노 He looked for hidden masters and studied hitting,” he said, “and told me the theory he thought was the most correct. Of course, I couldn’t do it to his satisfaction. I can’t digest all of his training,” he added.
Next season, Son plans to build on this year’s good feelings by heading to Kang Jeong-ho’s school before spring training.
He will leave the country on January 15 and take lessons for about two weeks before joining the NC Spring Camp in Tucson, Arizona on the 30th.
Unlike this year, teammate Park Se-hyuk will be accompanying Kang to the academy next year. Park signed a four-year, 4.6 billion won ($4.6 million) free agent contract with NC in November of last year, but he failed to live up to expectations, falling into a slump with a .211 batting average, six home runs and 32 RBIs in 88 games.
“Originally, the three of us were going to go with Park Se-hyuk and Kim Joo-won, but the other day, (Kim) Joo-won called and said he had a personal problem and couldn’t go, so I decided to go with (Park) Se-hyuk,” Son said, adding, “I think Se-hyuk is making a last-ditch effort before it’s too late. He said he wanted to learn from Jung-ho, so I decided to go with him. Se-hyuk is leaving the country faster than me.”
Son Asub and Park Se-hyuk are not the only players to call Kang Jeong-ho for an SOS. Doosan No. 4 hitter Kim Jae-hwan, who lost his big-bat instincts for two years after signing a four-year, 11.5 billion won free agent contract, traveled to the United States at the end of last month to take lessons from Kang Jeong-ho. “I want to join the spring training in February with a good memory of what I felt in the final camp in December and January,” said Kim, who decided to try to make a comeback with Kang.
Kang Jeong-ho was drafted by Hyundai in the eighth round of the 2006 KBO Draft out of Gwangju Ilgo.
He earned a Major League Pittsburgh uniform in 2014 after batting .355 with 40 homers, 117 RBIs and 103 runs scored in 117 games for the Heroes, then blasted 15 homers in 2015 and 21 homers in 2016 to become the Pirates’ center fielder. After retiring after the 2019 season, Kang’s career major league numbers are 297 games with a .254 batting average, 46 home runs, 144 RBIs, 120 runs scored, and a .796 OPS.
Aside from his stellar career, Kang is a convicted felon with three DUIs. In 2009, 2011, and then in December 2016, he was sentenced to eight months in jail and two years of probation for a drunken hit-and-run, not a simple DUI. While intoxicated, he hit a guardrail and fled to a hotel where he hid, and during the investigation, his passenger falsely stated that he was driving. It was a legal and ethical black eye.
After the KBO denied his request to return to the Kiwoom Heroes in 2022, Kang hung up his jersey and opened a baseball academy in Los Angeles. Rumors that his first client, Son As-seob, had benefited from Kang’s lessons spread, and the academy attracted new clients, including Kim Jae-hwan and Park Se-hyuk. Kang Jung-ho is now back on the radar of KBO fans as a coach after his dishonorable retirement.