Sung-min Cho

From BR Bullpen

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Sung-min Cho (조성민)

BR Register page

Biographical Information[edit]

Sung-min Cho has pitched in Nippon Pro Baseball and the Korea Baseball Organization.

Cho was 47-16 in 100 games in college, drawing interest from numerous quarters. He also played for the South Korean national team, winning Silver in the 1993 Asian Championship. In the 1994 Baseball World Cup, he was 2-1 with a 3.97 ERA. He struck out 28 batters in 22 2/3 IP to help South Korea win the Silver Medal. Only Masanori Sugiura struck out more batters in the Cup that year. He took the Silver in the 1994 Asian Games as well. Cho also pitched in the 1995 Asian Championship, helping Korea win Silver and a spot in the 1996 Olympics. The Los Angeles Dodgers were among the front-runners, but the top deal came from the Yomiuri Giants, who offered a signing bonus over $1 million and a 8-year agreement.

Cho debuted with Yomiuri in 1997, going 1-2 with 11 saves and a 2.89 ERA. He struck out 30 in 28 innings and allowed just 16 hits. He led the Giants in saves, edging out future major-leaguer Masao Kida. He then started 1998 on a strong note, but injured his arm in the All-Star Game and never recovered. Cho was 7-6 with a 2.75 ERA in 1998. He had the lowest ERA of any starting pitcher in a rotation that included Masaaki Saito, Masumi Kuwata, Hideki Okajima and Balvino Galvez. He tied Kenjiro Kawasaki, Kenshin Kawakami and Masahiro Yamamoto for the Central League in shutouts (3).

He injured his elbow in March of 1999 and did not pitch that year for the Giants. He got into only 10 games in 2000, going 1-2 with a 3.86 ERA and 20 hits allowed in 14 innings. After not pitching for Yomiuri in 2001, he went 2-0 with a 2.31 ERA in six brief appearances in 2002. Overall, Yomiuri had a 11-10 record from Cho to show for their investment. He pitched only 158 1/3 IP for the team, saved 11 and had a 2.84 ERA.

Returning to South Korea, Cho married actress Jin-sil Choi in a nationally televised wedding. The marriage did not last, though, and they got divorced in 2004. There were charges of domestic abuse.

Cho then became a baseball commentator for MBC ESPN.

In 2005, Cho returned to the baseball diamond with the Hanwha Eagles. He was 2-2 with a 6.52 ERA, allowing 30 hits and 15 walks in 19 1/3 IP. The next season, he threw 6 2/3 IP, giving up 12 hits and 6 walks with a 6.75 ERA and no decisions. Cho was 1-2 with a 4.19 ERA in 2007.

Cho committed suicide in 2013 by hanging himself. He reportedly wrote a note to his parents telling them to forget that they ever had a son.

Sources: KBO player page, by Gary Garland, Korean wikipedia entry, IBAF site