Yong-joon Cho (조용준)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 9", Weight 158 lb.
- School Yonsei University
Despite unimpressive size, Yong-joon Cho was a top Korean reliever for several years.
While in college, Cho played for the South Korean national team. He led the 1999 Asian Championship in wins and ERA, helping his country win Gold and a spot in the 2000 Olympics, but he lost All-Star honors to Japan's Daisuke Matsuzaka.
Cho debuted as a pro in 2002 with the Hyundai Unicorns, going 9-5 with 28 saves and a 1.90 ERA in 64 games. He fanned 116 in 109 innings and won the Korea Baseball Organization Rookie of the Year Award. He was 3 saves behind Korea Baseball Organization leader Pil-jung Jin and led the league in save points. Cho would have led in ERA had he pitched enough innings to qualify. Cho helped Korea win Gold at the 2002 Asian Games, striking out six in three shutout innings.
In 2003, Cho went 2-7 with 26 saves and a 3.52 ERA. He pitched in the 2003 Asian Championship. He bounced back in 2004, going 10-3 with 34 saves and a 2.28 ERA; in 75 innings, no one homered off the right-hander. He was two saves behind leader Chang-yong Lim and presumably led in save points though Lim is listed as the leader with 38. Cho was named the Korean Series MVP as he led his team to its third Korean Series title.
Cho went 2-1 with 27 saves and a 3.27 ERA for the 2005 Unicorns. He became the fastest hurler in KBO history to reach 100 saves by doing so in his 197th game, though Seung-hwan Oh would later break his pace.
Despite his success in his first four seasons, that was pretty much it. He hurt his shoulder, had surgery and returned briefly in 2009 (0-1, Sv, 4.00 in 31 G for the Nexen Heroes). He then became a sports commentator and in 2017 pitching coach at Shinil High School.