Koo Dae-sung (Korean: 구대성; Hanja: 具臺晟; born August 2, 1969 in Daejeon, South Korea) is a Korean professional left-handed pitcher. He formerly played for the Hanwha Eagles in the KBO League. He was also formerly with the New York Mets of Major League Baseball and the Orix BlueWave of Nippon Professional Baseball. He announced his retirement from Korean baseball on August 15, 2010. He last played for the Sydney Blue Sox in the Australian Baseball League.
|Born: August 2, 1969|
Daejeon, South Korea
|KBO (Korean Baseball Organization): 1993, for the Binggrae Eagles|
|NPB (Nippon Professional Baseball): 2001, for the Orix BlueWave|
|MLB: April 4, 2005, for the New York Mets|
|KBO: 2010, for the Hanwha Eagles|
|NPB: 2004, for the Orix BlueWave|
|MLB: August 20, 2005, for the New York Mets|
|Earned run average||2.85|
|Earned run average||3.86|
|Earned run average||3.91|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Olympic medal record|
|Representing South Korea|
|Revised Romanization||Gu Dae-seong|
Koo is a left-handed pitcher despite being born right-handed. As a child, he suffered an injury which forced him to become left-handed. He broke his right arm so badly that he had to use his left hand primarily. Koo attended Hanyang University.
Koo began his professional career in 1993 with the Hanwha Eagles of the Korea Baseball Organization. In 1996, he won both a Gold Glove Award and the MVP of the KBO with a 1.88 ERA, 18 wins, 24 saves and 183 strikeouts in 139 innings pitched.
In 2001, Koo joined the Orix BlueWave of the Japanese Pacific League. Though he was a reliever throughout his professional career, he became a starter for the team in 2002, recording the second best ERA on the team. The Orix BlueWave merged with the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes in 2004, and he took the opportunity to announce his decision to play in the major leagues.
New York MetsEdit
In 2005, the New York Mets signed Koo as a free agent. He pitched well as a reliever during spring training and was selected for the Mets' active roster as the season began. Despite his 35 years of age, and 12 years experience in Korea and Japan, he was considered a rookie by Major League Baseball in his first year. He made his Major League Debut on April 4, 2005 against the Cincinnati Reds, and pitched a perfect 8th inning, in the process collecting his first big league strikeout.
Koo's most memorable moment as a Major Leaguer occurred on May 21, 2005, when he recorded his only major league hit, a double off of Randy Johnson of the New York Yankees. This came right when Fox TV analyst Tim McCarver commented on how Koo's plate appearance was "the biggest give-up at bat". Koo had taken two pitches and struck out in his first at-bat, leading everyone to believe that he was ready to go up just to sit down again. On a 1-and-1 count, Koo crushed a deep line drive right over Bernie Williams's head one hop off the wall in right-center field. Upon reaching second base, the home crowd and his teammates in the dugout cheered and chanted "KOOOO!" When asked about what he thought about the hit, Koo responded, "Other people say that I swung my bat with my eyes closed. But, of course I saw it –I hit it! It has been 18 years since I batted last – when I was in high school. Occasionally I went to the batting cages and swung the bat a couple of times. But, there really wasn’t any difference." A slow runner with little base running experience, Koo advanced to third base on a sacrifice bunt dropped by the following hitter, José Reyes. However, after Koo slowed down approaching third base, he re-accelerated and ran towards a vacant home plate left uncovered as Reyes was getting thrown out at first base. Yankees' catcher Jorge Posada promptly ran towards home in a foot race with Koo. Upon retrieving the thrown ball from first base, Posada applied the tag onto Koo's left shoulder as he slid head first towards home plate on a close play. Home plate umpire Chuck Meriwether called Koo safe on the play. With that, the home crowd once again cheered and chanted his last name. His teammates enthusiastically greeted him, with celebrations ranging from his teammates brushing the dirt off his uniform to Doug Mientkiewicz fanning him with a towel. On his reception by his teammates, Koo said that "they said a lot of things. I just couldn't understand what. I think they were saying 'Good job.'" It was his final Major League at-bat.
Unfortunately, it was later revealed that Koo suffered a shoulder injury during this play while sliding into homeplate. His stats suffered as well as a result thus forcing him to return to South Korea.
Return to KoreaEdit
On March 2, 2006, Koo rejoined the Hanwha Eagles when the Mets sold his contract to them.
Sydney Blue SoxEdit
In press conference on 22 August, Koo revealed he was to play for the Sydney Blue Sox in the Australian Baseball League. Koo made his debut in the opening game of the 2010–11 Australian Baseball League regular season. With his team up 1-0 against the Canberra Cavalry, he recorded the final out by striking out Nick Kimpton to earn the first save in the Australian Baseball League. He finished the season with 12 saves, 1.00 ERA and .144 opposition average against, this stellar season led Koo to be awarded Reliever of the Year.
After spending the first two seasons as the Blue Sox closer, he was shifted into the 8th inning role when Matthew Williams took over as the team's closer. However, in the 2013–14 season, Williams moved to the Adelaide Bite and Koo was once again named Sydney's closer, posting a stellar 2.08 ERA with 11 saves.
In four seasons of the Australian Baseball League, Koo has a 2.16 ERA with 31 saves.
In 2016 Koo was the pitching coach for the Blue Sox.
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or ESPN, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- Career statistics and player information from Korea Baseball Organization
- Dae-Sung Koo at Sydney Blue Sox, Australian Baseball League
- Yahoo! profile
- Dae-Sung Koo at Olympics at Sports-Reference.com
- Dae-Sung Koo at databaseOlympics.com (archived)
- Koo sailing (MLB article about Koo's game on May 21, 2005, also includes video of his two plays)