(Redirected from Ki-tae Kim)
- Note: This page links to Gi-tae Kim, the former KBO slugger and OBP specialist. For the KBO pitcher of the 1980s, click here.
Gi-tae Kim also transliterated as Ki-tae Kim, Ki-tai Kim
- School Inha University
- High School Gwangju First High School
- Born May 23, 1969 in Gwangju South Korea
Gi-tae Kim hit .294/.410/.515 in 15 years in the Korea Baseball Organization. He led the league twice in each OBP and slugging and once each in home runs and batting average. Through 2005, he was in the top five in the league in career walks, RBI, hits and doubles and in the top 10 in triples, runs and homers.
While in college, Kim played for the South Korean national team in the 1990 Baseball World Cup, hitting .250/.242/.594 with 3 homers, 7 runs and 12 RBI as the starting first baseman. He was with South Korea for the 1990 Asian Games, when they finished second.
He started his pro career in 1991 with the Ssangbangwool Raiders with a .262/.370/.487 line, 72 walks and 27 homers. In 1992, the 23-year-old batted .302/.461/.621 with 86 runs, 31 homers, 96 RBI and 114 walks. He won the Gold Glove Award at DH, an award given to the top DH, not the "top-fielding" one. He led the KBO in OBP that year. The next season, the young slugger put up a disappointing .240/.380/.391 line, though he still drew 73 walks. He again was the "Gold Glove DH". In 1994, Kim bounced back, hitting .316/.430/.590 with 25 HR and 74 BB; he won his third consecutive Gold Glove at DH. He led the KBO in both home runs and slugging. In 1995, Gi-tae batted .321/.419/.510; he only hit 12 home runs but made up for it with his high average, 34 doubles and 72 walks, while only striking out 44 times in 402 AB, a significant improvement from past years.
In 1996, the Raiders star hit .297/.399/.487. In '97, he batted .344/.460/.636 with 84 walks, 26 home runs and 95 runs scored. He led the KBO in average, OBP and slugging in his best overall campaign. In the 1998 season, Kim produced at a .309/.440/.606 rate with 31 home runs, 104 walks and 90 RBI. He was 7th in the league in average and seemingly in the top five in other key stats.
Kim moved to the Samsung Lions in 1999 and batted .293/.403/.551 with 28 HR, 88 RBI and 82 walks. In 2000, Gi-tae hit .309/.410/.622 with 26 homers and 80 RBI in 101 contests. He also played in the 2000 Olympics but was one of the weakest hitters for the bronze medal team, hitting .182/?/.242. In his third year with Samsung, he collapsed, only managing a .176/.224/.314 line in 44 games and failed to homer.
He got another chance in 2002 with the SK Wyverns. In a part-time role, he batted .257/.359/.412 in 284 AB. He followed in 2003 with a .292/.364/.360 season in 236 AB, only cracking three home runs. In 2004, Kim hit .320/.403/.454; his power remained poor (10 HR) though his OBP clearly was still valuable. He was sixth in the league in batting average. He won his fourth and final Gold Glove at DH.
In his final season, Kim had one final bad season, only hitting .205/.297/.241 in 54 games.
Overall, Gi-tae had 816 runs, 298 doubles, 249 home runs, 923 RBI, 1,465 hits and 948 walks. Through 2005, Kim ranked third all-time in the KBO in doubles (behind Jun-hyeok Yang and Jong-hun Jang), third in BB+HBP (behind Yang and Jang), fifth in hits, fifth in RBI, sixth in runs, seventh in games played (1,544), eight in home runs, 11th in double plays ground into (116), tied for 15th in average and tied for 21st in triples (27).
Kim was a coach for South Korea when they won Gold at the 2008 Olympics. He became manager of the LG Twins in 2012 then took over the KIA Tigers in 2015, guiding them to the 2017 Korean Series title. He was replaced in May 2019 by Heung-sik Park.
Sources: Korean wikipedia entry, KBO career leaders, KBO single-season leaders, 2001 Baseball Almanac
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