Kim Gwang-hyun (35), Noh Kyeong-eun (39), and even Go Hyo-jun (40) are still active SSG Landers, but Kim Tae-hoon (33) chose to part ways, a bit prematurely.안전놀이터
Kim Tae-hoon will hold a retirement ceremony after completing the final game of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League season against the Doosan Bears at SSG Landers Field in Incheon on the 17th.
He was drafted in the first round in 2009 and wore the SK Wyverns (predecessor of SSG) uniform and wore the red uniform for 11 seasons. Kim Tae-hoon, who played a leading role in SK’s Korean Series victory in 2018 and recorded a total of 302 games, 18 wins, 22 losses, 9 saves, 64 holds, and an earned run average (ERA) of 5.18, leaves the field like that.
Compared to Kim Gwang-hyun, Kim Tae-hoon did not receive as much spotlight, but like him, he never left Incheon except for his time in the Armed Forces Athletic Corps (Sangmu). Since he was a ‘one-club man’ for 15 years and 11 seasons, the fans who are leaving him are bound to have complicated feelings.
He previously announced his intention to retire through the club on the 28th of last month, saying, “I am happy to have been able to start and end my career as a player at the best club. I joined with undeserved interest as a first-round pick, but I was disappointed that I could not live up to expectations due to injuries and poor performance.” However, I was happy to be able to repay the fans’ love even a little by showing the best performance as an individual player along with the team’s victory in 2018. I will not forget the support and cheers I have received at the baseball stadium so far and engrave them in my heart.”
He met with reporters ahead of the game that day and said, “After being in the second team for a long time for two years, I thought about a lot of things. I thought I would be less competitive now that I had so many good juniors, so I thought about it early and decided to retire.” The background was given.
He added, “I was relieved because I thought I had done everything I had to do in professional baseball. I have no regrets. I worked hard and prepared for the season, but now I hit a wall and made a clean choice.”
His plans for after retirement have already been completed. He plans to open a baseball school in the Incheon area and focus on training his juniors. When asked if he would work with his former colleagues, including Eom Jeong-wook, he showed off his characteristic cheerful wit by saying, “I don’t think I’ll be able to become a salaried worker.”
To director Kim Won-hyung, Kim Tae-hoon is a sore finger. Coach Kim said with a bitter smile, “I feel sorry for Tae-hoon. I didn’t expect him to retire like this. We used to be players together. In fact, I feel sorry. Even if his personality is too good, it’s a problem. He can’t take care of himself.”
He continued, “I’m a bit disappointed about those things. I’m not old enough to retire yet, but he came and said he was retiring last time,” and “At the beginning of the season, instead of playing an immediate game, I trained myself for 2-3 months again in a camp style and got 7, “I said it would be nice to see the match in August or September, but they said it wasn’t delivered,” he said, expressing his disappointment.
Coach Kim said, “I can’t do it right now because my arm hurts.” He added, “It must have been very difficult when he made his own choice, but when he came to the baseball field, I saw him smiling again for the last time… Now, he is a coach and a player, but before that, they were seniors and juniors. “He is a junior I met, and I am very disappointed,” he said.
The club and fans were equally disappointed to let Kim Tae-hoon leave like this. In line with Kim Tae-hoon’s wish to personally express his gratitude to the fans before the game, a fan signing event was held for 100 pre-selected people, and various events such as providing message cards were also held.
Before the game, he also came out to throw the first pitch. Fifty-one fans lined up in two rows, matching his uniform number ’51’, and Kim Tae-hoon appeared between them. Fans gave warm applause and cheers of encouragement. He headed to the mound with a short greeting and his close friend Seo Jin-yong sat at home plate and waited for his ball.
Kim Tae-hoon threw a fastball that was more fiery than ever before, as if he wanted to leave no regrets. Although he threw the first pitch, he habitually looked at the electronic display board after pitching, making people laugh. After throwing out the first pitch, he gave starting pitcher Kim Gwang-hyeon a warm hug and headed to the dugout with encouragement from his teammates.
The memory of his best performance, such as appearing in 8 games in the 2018 postseason playoffs and the Korean Series and allowing only 1 run in 11 innings, remains a vivid memory for fans. When asked what he would like to boast about to his juniors after his retirement, Kim Tae-hoon confidently said, “The perfect game I recorded in high school baseball and winning the Korean Series.”
A retirement ceremony commemorating Kim Tae-hoon’s achievements and finale will be held after the game ends. Commemorative gifts and bouquets will be awarded, video letters from the players will be shown, and retirement testimonials will be read.
Taehoon Kim Q&A– What made you decide to retire?
After being in the 2nd team for two years, I thought about a lot of things. However, since there are so many good juniors, I thought I would be less competitive, so I thought about it early and made a decision.
– Isn’t your arm feeling well?
As for my arm condition, I could just throw, but I thought full time would be difficult. The arm condition is not that bad.
– Did you decide to retire first before planning your second life?
no. I had some plans (about life after retirement), but now that I am playing full-time in the second team this season, I started thinking about (retirement). I will contribute to Korean baseball by nurturing juniors through baseball lessons in Incheon. (Along with Eom Jeong-wook and others) No. I don’t think I’ll be able to become a salaried worker. (Laughs)
– Did you have any regrets when you decided to retire?
I felt relieved because I felt like I had done everything I had to do in professional baseball. I have no regrets. I tried hard and prepared hard for the season, but now I hit a wall and made a clean choice.
-You are a father. Did your thoughts about his family also influence you?
To some extent, there is that part.
– Noh Kyung-eun, Kim Gwang-hyun, and Ko Hyo-jun are still active, but haven’t they been told to think again?
I heard that kind of thing a lot. Kyeong-eun, Hyo-jun, and Gwang-hyeon still have great status, so I respect them. They are great players, but I am a little unconfident.
– When you look back, what memories are you proud of?
This is a perfect game recorded in high school baseball and a Korean Series win. (How about a big performance in the playoffs?) That’s because I gave it 1 point… (laughter)
-What do you regret the most?
There is only one thing that is disappointing. Something that wasn’t consistent. The biggest regret is that I was not consistent in the content of the game, but other than that, there is nothing else.
– What were you thinking during your last appearance in the Futures League?
I threw it with all my might with the thought, ‘I’m really going to die today.’ The restraint came out really well. It went up to 145km. (Have you thought about reversing your retirement?) I was a little concerned, but my juniors had prepared everything (for the retirement ceremony). I also poured some beer.
-Is your family coming today too?
The child has now passed his first birthday and is now about 13 or 14 months old.
– Don’t you feel like crying? What remarks have you prepared?
I’ve already written everything. I drank a glass of soju and wrote it with that emotion at 1 am. (Isn’t there a comment you might regret?) It has already been inspected twice.
– This is my last interview as a player.
An opportunity like this will never come again. Thank you for your interest until the end. I will live my second life well.
– He was a player that reporters loved (due to his friendly and pleasant interviews).
– When you look back, what kind of player will you be remembered as?
I’ve heard a lot about him, but I think he will be remembered as a cheerful, bright, and energetic player.
– I think tears will start pouring from now on.
I’m nervous right now (I’m not sure)
– What would you say to Park Jong-hoon or Seo Jin-yong, players you’re close with?
Jong-Hoon is going through a difficult time… so the two of them have to stay until the end and play baseball for a long time until they go to Cheongna (the previously planned stadium).