Tae-hyon Chong (정대현)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 1", Weight 214 lb.
Tae-hyon Chong has been a member of the South Korean national several times over a decade's period. He is a submarine pitcher.
Chong was a top performer for South Korea in the 1999 Intercontinental Cup, going 1-1 with a 1.47 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 18 1/3 IP. He tied Hiroki Kuroda and Adrian Meagher for second in the Cup in strikeouts, 5 behind leader Ciro Licea. He was one of the few bright spots on a 2-5 club. In the 2000 Olympics, the right-hander allowed just two runs in 13 1/3 innings and struck out 11. He had no decisions. Chong got both of his starts against the Gold Medal winning Team USA. In the round-robin phase, he dueled Roy Oswalt evenly for 7 shutout innings before Jin-woo Song relieved and lost the game in the 8th. In the semifinals, he fanned six in 6 1/3 innings and allowed just 3 hits but two runs and again was even with Oswalt, leaving with a 2-2 tie; this time, Seok-jin Park cost the game in relief. Chong and the Koreans wound up with a Bronze Medal.
Chong debuted as a pro in 2001 with the SK Wyverns and had a 5.40 ERA in 18 games. In 2002, the right-hander was 1-0 with a 3.21 ERA in 24 appearances. In the 2002 Intercontinental Cup, the Kyung Hee alumnus again was the workhorse of the staff, going 1-1 with a 2.18 ERA. He struck out 24 in 20 2/3 IP. He again shut down an international powerhouse in a major game, containing the Cuban national team for six innings in the Gold Medal game. In the 7th, DH Barbaro Cañizares doubled and 2B Yobal Dueñas homered to give Cuba a 2-1 victory as Chong again got little support in a crucial match-up. He tied José Ibar for the Cup lead in strikeouts.
Chong was 4-3 with 2 saves and a 2.29 ERA for the Wyverns in 2003, allowing 33 hits in 51 innings. The submariner pitched 52 games in 2004, going 2-3 with 2 saves and a 2.34 ERA and only allowing two home runs in 69 1/3 IP.
In 2005, Tae-hyon allowed only 10 hits and one run in 24 1/3 innings and went 1-0 with 3 saves for SK. He was with Korea for the 2006 World Baseball Classic, in which he had a 5.40 ERA in three games but struck out six in 3 1/3 innings. In 2006, Chong was 8-4 with 15 saves and a 1.94 ERA in 59 games for the Wyverns, finally getting the regular closer's role.
The right-handed hurler went 3-2 with 27 saves and a 0.92 ERA in 60 games in 2007, allowing only 50 hits and 3 home runs in 78 1/3 innings. He got the final out of the 2007 Korean Series as SK won the pennant. In the 2007 Asian Championship, Chong pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings, striking out two and allowing one hit.
Chong pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings in the 2008 Final Olympic Qualification Tournament to help South Korea earn a spot in the Summer Games. He got the save against Taiwan, another team that advanced to Beijing.
Chong replaced Ki-joo Han as South Korea's closer partway through the 2008 Olympics after Han struggled. He struck out 7 in 4 innings, allowing one run and saving two to help South Korea win Gold. In the 9th inning against Japan, he relieved Han with a 5-3 lead, one out and men on second and third. He struck out G.G. Sato and got Masahiko Morino on a grounder to end it for the save. In the bottom of the 9th of the Gold Medal game, he entered with a 3-2 lead, one out and the bases loaded, replacing Hyun-jin Ryu. Chong enduced a game-ending double play from Yulieski Gourriel to give South Korea the Gold.
Chong tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, when South Korea finished second.