Just one shy of 500th home run
Samsung Lions slugger Lee Seung-yeop only needs one more big hit for his 500th career home run. No one in the KBO’s 30-year-history has ever accomplished that milestone. Even in Major League Baseball in the United States, only 25 players have reached the landmark figure in its 136-year-history, including the New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez.
The 35-year-old recorded his 499th homer along with one hit in five at bats, scoring two runs in his team’s 11-8 victory against the Kia Tigers on Sunday. Lee has 340 home runs in the KBO as well as 159 in his eight years in the Japanese league.
He is now tied with former Hanwha Eagles infielder Jang Jong-hun’s for the second most home runs in the local league, 11 behind legendary Korean hitter Yang Joon-hyuk’s 351.
Nonetheless, Lee doesn’t seem to be satisfied with his recent performances.
“Despite today’s home run, I’m pretty upset with the poor swings that I’ve made,” he said after the game. “I’m not thinking about the home run record. I’m trying to pace myself. Then, maybe good news is ahead.”
Even at the beginning of the season, Lee said that he was not aiming for the home run title, but he does hope to pass Yang.
As the Lions have three more games against the Hanwha Eagles before the All-Star Game on Saturday, there Lee may well break his record this week.
With 56 RBIs and a .325 batting average from 74 games, Lee has played a pivotal role in his side’s sitting at the top of the table halfway through the season.