Dong-joo Kim

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Dong-joo Kim (김동주)

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Biographical Information[edit]

Dong-joo Kim was an infielder for the Doosan Bears. He has represented South Korea in the Olympics, Asian Games, Intercontinental Cup and Baseball World Cup. He is known for both his contact and power hitting.

Kim was 3 for 9 with a walk, two runs and an error in the 1995 Intercontinental Cup, backing up Chang-soo Choi in right. He debuted professionally in 1998 with the OB Bears, hitting .269/.310/.473 with 24 homers and 89 RBI. He helped South Korea take Gold in the 1998 Asian Games. At age 23, he improved to a .321/.394/.564 line with 22 HR and 84 RBI; OB became the Doosan Bears that year. He was on the South Korean team that won Gold at the 1999 Asian Championship. In 2000, he batted .339/.414/.603 with 31 circuit clouts and 106 RBI. He hit the first home run to go out of Olympic Stadium in Seoul. He also played for South Korea in the 2000 Olympics, hitting .292 with a couple doubles and five RBI for the 5-4 bronze medalists. He tied Tilson Brito for second in the Korea Baseball Organization in average, two points behind the more one-dimensional Jong-ho Park. In addition, he won a KBO Gold Glove at third base.

Dong-joo produced at a .324/.401/.522 clip in 2001; his 18 homers marked a significant drop-off in power though his OBP and average remained solid (he was 9th in the KBO) for the Korean Series champs. In 2002, the Doosan star hit .318/.405/.557 with 26 home runs. He was 5th in the league in average. He started at third for South Korea when they won the 2002 Asian Games, hitting .313 and slugging .500. The next season, he batted .342/.450/.581 for his best season; he had 23 homers, 89 RBI and 79 walks, 27 more than his prior high. He beat out Jong-soo Shim to lead the Korea Baseball Organization in batting average. He played for South Korea in the 2003 Asian Championship.

In 2004, Kim batted .286/.402/.467 with 19 homers and failed to reach .300 for the first time since his rookie season. At age 29, he hit .302/.444/.470 in 94 games.

He was 1 for 3 for South Korea in one game in the 2006 World Baseball Classic. Unfortunately, in that game, he injured his left shoulder while diving into first on an infield single. In the 2006 regular season, Kim batted .250/~.327/.386 in only 43 games. His career line through 2006 reads .309/~.422/.526.

Kim began 2007 on a hot note and there was much praise for his new mentality; he had a reputation as being lazy in the past. He hit .322/.457/.534 with 97 walks and 19 home runs. He was fifth in the KBO in average, led in OBP (one point ahead of Jun-hyuk Yang), third in walks and fifth in slugging. Kim's mound charge in game two of the 2007 Korean Series after being hit by a pitch sparked a six-minute brawl; it was the culmination of building tension between Doosan and the SK Wyverns and criticism of SK's inside pitching.

He won the KBO Gold Glove at third base for 2007.

Kim was 1 for 6 with two walks in the 2007 Asian Championship.

A free agent after 2007, he looked into going to Japan but no one was interested and he signed the highest contract in Koreas.

Kim left the 2008 Final Olympic Qualification Tournament early to be with his sick mother. South Korea still clinched an Olympic berth. Kim had gone 2 for 5 (both doubles) with 2 walks, 3 runs and a RBI in two games at third base in the event. Kim hit .294/.429/.294 in the 2008 Olympics as Korea's main third baseman and was involved in several productive innings in their two wins over Japan, helping South Korea win Gold.

A free agent after 2008, Kim again sought to play in Japan but could not get a deal. He re-signed with the Bears, taking a slight pay cut but still leaving him Korea's highest-paid player.

Through 2005, Kim was 5th all-time in the Korea Baseball Organization in average, 16th in homers (173), 22nd in RBI (635) and 34th in walks (512).

But KBO fans think of him as an "icon of adultery", because he divorced his wife who supported from his no-name days. But he cheated on her with married women, and after their divorce, his ex-wife and their son were treated in a mental clinic. This fact became well known, and he was blamed by many people.

Sources: KBO player page, Korean wikipedia entry, KBO career leaders, KBO single-season leaders, World Baseball Classic website, article on Kim, IBAF site, 2008 Olympics

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