Myung-won Jeong (정명원)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2", Weight 198 lb.
Myung-won Jeong led the Korea Baseball Organization in both saves and ERA during his career.
Jeong was a second-round pick of the Taepyungyang Dolphins in the 1989 draft. He debuted with a strong 11-4, 2.45 season in 1989 with six saves. He was among the league leaders in ERA (4th behind Dong-yol Son, Jung-hyun Park and Chang-ho Choi), wins (tied for 9th with Jin-wook Kim), saves (tied for 5th with Hee-min Han) and games pitched (38, tied for 5th). He did not take the KBO Rookie of the Year, which went to Park. In 1990, he had a major sophomore slump (2-4, 2 Sv, 7.57, 44 H in 27 1/3 IP). He rebounded in 1991 (12-6, 14 Sv, 2.25), finishing among the leaders in the same four categories as in 1989. This time, he was again 4th in ERA (behind Son, Gyu-je Cho and Yong-deok Han), tied for 9th in wins, third in saves (after Cho and Sung-kil Kim) and second in pitching appearances (49, tied with Cho behind Sung-kil Kim).
The Kunsan native battled back problems in 1992 (3-1, 3.52) and 1993 (0-1, 1 R in 6 IP). He recovered to dazzle in 1994 (4-2, 40 Sv, 1.36 ERA, WHIP under 1.00). He broke Dong-yol Son's record for saves in a KBO campaign (33; Pil-jung Jin would top Jeong's record six years later), topping Dong-hee Park by 9 for the 1994 lead. He won the KBO All-Star Game MVP and also the Gold Glove as the league's best pitcher. He lost game 3 of the 1994 Korean Series, though, as his team fell to the LG Twins. He remained sharp in 1995 (9-7, 19 Sv, 1.75, 68 H in 103 IP). He led the KBO in games pitched (52, 4 ahead of Son and Yong-soo Kim) and was 4th in saves (trailing Son, Yong-soo Kim and Tae-han Kim).
In 1996, he went 8-5 with 26 saves and a 1.58 ERA in 53 games. He was third in games pitched (behind Ung-cheon Cho and Dae-sung Koo) and led in saves for the second time (two ahead of Koo). He threw the only (through 2013) no-hitter in a Korean Series in game 4 of the 1996 Korean Series but the team (renamed the Hyundai Unicorns that year) fell in 6, with Jeong losing the finale. He was hittable in 1997 (2-10, 28 Sv, 3.50 in 55 G), still finishing second to Sang-hoon Lee in saves and tying Ung-cheon Cho for 6th in games pitched, but he also tied for 6th in losses. After being a closer for years, Jeong returned to the starting rotation in 1998 and didn't skip a beat, going 14-8 with a 1.86 ERA. He was among the league leaders in ERA (.03 ahead of Chang-yong Lim), wins (tied for 5th with Myung-hwan Park), innings (184, 3rd, behind Min-tae Jeong and Myung-hwan Park), strikeouts (123, 10th, between Koo and Jae-yeong Wi), complete games (5, tied for 2nd) and shutouts (3, tied for first with Min-tae Jeong). He won game 3 of the 1998 Korean Series against LG but dropped a potential clincher in game 6; thankfully, Hyundai won game 7 to wrap it up.
Jeong's final two seasons were a sign that his heyday had passed. He was 5-4 with 7 saves and a 4.06 ERA in 1999 and 5-2 with a 3.98 ERA in 2000. Hyundai beat the Doosan Bears in the 2000 Korean Series (Jeong had no decisions) to end his playing career on a high note.
Overall, he had gone 75-54 with 142 saves and a 2.56 ERA in 395 KBO games. In 1,093 2/3 IP, he allowed 933 hits and struck out 634. Through 2013, he was third in KBO history in ERA (behind Dong-yol Son and Dong-won Choi), tied for 13th in winning percentage (with Min-han Son) and 8th in saves.
He later was pitching coach for Hyundai (2002-2007), a coach for the Nexen Heroes (2008-2011), pitching coach for Doosan (2012-2013) and first pitching coach for the KT Wiz (2014- ). In the 2013 Korean Series, he was involved in an unusual fourth inning; because he visited Hee-kwan Yoo on the mound, Yoo had to be yanked when skipper Jin-wook Kim was ruled to have visited the mound while arguing a call later.