Shin-Soo Choo (Hangul: 추신수; Hanja: 秋信守; Korean pronunciation: [tɕʰu.ɕin.su]; born July 13, 1982) is a South Korean professional baseball right fielder for the Texas Rangers of Major League Baseball (MLB). He has also played for the Seattle Mariners, Cleveland Indians, and Cincinnati Reds.
Choo with the Texas Rangers in 2014
|Texas Rangers – No. 17|
|Born: July 13, 1982|
Busan, South Korea
|April 21, 2005, for the Seattle Mariners|
|MLB statistics |
(through June 22, 2019)
|Runs batted in||738|
|Career highlights and awards|
Choo was selected as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) and Best Pitcher of the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup as South Korea won the event. Choo signed a $1.35 million contract with the Mariners after the championship and converted to the outfield.
In 2018, Choo earned a selection to his first career Major League Baseball All-Star Game. During that season, he safely reached base in 52 consecutive games, the longest such single-season streak in Texas Rangers history. As of 2018, he led all active major league ballplayers in career hit by pitch, with 132.
Choo made his Major League Baseball debut with the Seattle Mariners on April 21, with the Class A affiliate for the Seattle Mariners the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers in 2005, but spent most of the 2005 season and the first half of the 2006 season in the minor leagues with the Mariners' Triple-A affiliate, the Tacoma Rainiers. He batted .068 in a handful of major league at-bats over two years. He was traded to the Cleveland Indians along with minor leaguer Shawn Nottingham on July 26, 2006, for first baseman Ben Broussard.
Two days after being traded, Choo hit a solo home run against his former club in a 1–0 Indians victory. In 45 games with the Indians, he batted .295 (43 for 146) with three home runs and 22 RBIs.
He spent the first few weeks of the 2007 regular season with the Buffalo Bisons, a Triple-A team in the International League affiliated with the Indians, before being called up on April 23, 2007, to take the place of the injured third baseman Andy Marte. He was optioned back to Buffalo on May 3. Choo missed several months of the 2007 season due to injury and in September 2007 underwent Tommy John surgery on his left elbow.
In the 2008 season, Choo was called up on May 31 and spent the rest of the season with the Indians. He finished the season (after 317 at-bats) with a .309 batting average, 98 hits, 14 home runs, and 66 RBIs. His hit and RBI totals were also a new record by a South Korean-born player in the MLB. Thanks to a hot September where he put up a .400 batting average, 34 hits, 5 home runs, and 24 RBIs, Choo was named the AL Player of the Month.
In February 2009, he signed a one-year contract with the Indians. During that season, he broke his own records for home runs, RBIs, stolen bases and hits. On July 3, Choo hit two home runs and a career-high seven RBIs in an Indians 15–3 victory over the Oakland Athletics. On October 3, 2009, Choo hit his twentieth homer off of Paul Byrd of the Boston Red Sox, thus joining the 20-20 club. He is the first Asian to accomplish this feat in the Major Leagues. He was also the only player in the AL to have a .300 average, 20 home runs, and 20 stolen bases at the same time. He finished the season with 20 home runs, 21 steals, 86 RBIs, and a .300 batting average.
On February 26, 2010, Choo hired baseball agent Scott Boras. Choo became eligible for arbitration after the 2010 season, and agreed to a $3.975 million deal. Choo hit three home runs in a road game against the Kansas City Royals on September 17, 2010. He first hit a two-run homer 420 ft to right in the top of the fourth inning. In his next at bat he hit a towering grand slam to deep center. In the top of the eighth Choo hit a 405 ft solo homer over the right field wall. Choo finished the game a three-run homer away from the elusive "home run cycle". On September 19, 2010, Choo again reached the 20-20 club of 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases for the second straight year. He also led the AL right fielders in assists with 14.
Choo showed promise in spring training, hitting for a .322 average with three home runs in 19 games. However, Choo's season fell apart quickly. In what was his worst statistical season as an Indian, Choo finished the season with eight home runs, a .259 batting average, 12 stolen bases, and 36 RBIs while accumulating 78 strikeouts and 36 walks in 313 at-bats. On June 24, Choo was hit by San Francisco Giants pitcher Jonathan Sánchez on his left thumb. The resulting fracture kept him out for six weeks. On August 23, during the first game of a double header against his former club, the Seattle Mariners, a game in which during an earthquake he hit a double. In the ninth inning, Choo hit his first walk-off home run. On September 1, Choo pulled a side muscle and was placed on the disabled list again, ending his season.
On April 14 in a game against the Kansas City Royals which would see bench clearings by both teams, Choo was hit by Royals starter Jonathan Sánchez on his right knee. It was a pitch from Sanchez that hit Choo in 2011, resulting in a broken thumb and nearly two months on the disabled list. Choo would finish the game and win it for the Indians in the tenth inning when he hit a two-run double. On April 24, Choo left in the eighth inning in a game versus the Royals after suffering a mild hamstring strain. Choo would return on May 2 in a 6–3 Indians win versus the Chicago White Sox. On May 24 in series finale home game against the Detroit Tigers, Choo hit a second-deck home run off of Tigers starter Justin Verlander in the first inning. That was Choo's first career lead-off home run. The Indians won that game 2-1, finishing the sweep against the Tigers.
On December 11, 2012, Choo was traded to the Cincinnati Reds along with Jason Donald in a three team, nine player deal also involving the Arizona Diamondbacks. The trade brought Trevor Bauer, Matt Albers, Bryan Shaw, and Drew Stubbs to the Cleveland Indians. On February 11, 2013, Choo avoided arbitration with his new team, the Reds, by agreeing to a one-year, $7.375 million deal, the exact midpoint between both sides.
On May 8, 2013, Choo hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 9th inning in a game with the Atlanta Braves. It was his second walk-off home run in Major League Baseball. On August 27 in a game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Choo hit his 100th career home run. On September 9, 2013, Choo set the Reds' team record for hit by pitches in a season. For the season, he led the major leagues in hit by pitch, with 26. On October 2, 2013 Choo homered in the top of the 8th inning in the wild-card game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He is the first South Korean batter to hit a home run in Major League Baseball postseason.
On December 21, 2013, it was reported that Choo had agreed to a seven-year, $130 million contract with the Texas Rangers, pending a physical examination. The New York Yankees had also offered Choo a seven-year, $140 million contract; however Choo and his agent Scott Boras rejected the offer. The Rangers officially introduced Choo on December 27. However his first season with the team did not go well. He battled ankle injuries for most of the season and played in only 123 games while putting up a slash line of .242/.340/.374; making 2014 the worst season of his ten-year career. It was a major blow to the Rangers as they heavily invested that he and newly acquired Prince Fielder would contribute to help the team win a division title. Instead he was added unto the long list of injuries that kept the Rangers out of contention along with Prince Fielder, Mitch Moreland, Matt Harrison, Derek Holland, and many others.
On July 21, 2015, Choo hit for the cycle against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. In doing so, he became the ninth player in Rangers history to hit for the cycle as well as the first Asian player in the MLB to accomplish this feat. He vastly improved in 2015 compared to his injury-riddled 2014. In a crucial role, he hit .276 with 22 home runs and 82 RBIs with a .375 OBP. Brandon Warne of Fangraphs noted that Choo's on-base percentage in 2015 was higher than his slugging percentage in 2014.
2016 would prove to be another injury-riddled season for Choo. On April 10, 2016, the Rangers placed Choo on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right calf muscle and was expected to miss 4-6 weeks. He returned on May 20 having missed 36 games. In his first game back, he left with hamstring tightness and was placed back on the DL. He was activated on June 13 having missed 21 games. On July 20, Choo was placed on the disabled list for third time in the season, this time for lower back inflammation. He returned on August 4 after 13 games. On August 16, 2016, it was announced that Choo would miss the rest of the season when he was placed on the 15-day disabled list (his fourth stint on the DL that season) with a fracture in his left forearm.
On May 26, 2018, Choo hit a walk-off home run against Kevin McCarthy of the Kansas City Royals. With 176 career home runs, Choo surpassed Hideki Matsui for the most career home runs by a player born in Asia. Choo, having set a club record for reaching base in 47 consecutive games, was named to his first-career All-Star Game in July. On July 20, Choo extended his on-base streak to 52 games with a lead-off single against the Cleveland Indians; the streak ended on July 21 in a second game against the Indians. Choo's 52-game on-base streak is the longest such single-season streak in Texas Rangers history. Choo was named the 2018 Texas Rangers Player of the Year by the DFW BBWAA chapter.
World Baseball ClassicEdit
Choo was on the 2009 World Baseball Classic South Korean roster. Cleveland allowed Choo to play under the condition that he play only one game or less as an outfielder in the first round, and only in two non-consecutive games of the second round. Cleveland lifted this restriction from the semifinals on, and Choo started as an outfielder in the semifinal match against Venezuela. He helped South Korea win 10-2 against Venezuela with a three-run home run against Carlos Silva in the first inning. He also contributed a solo home run in the fifth inning in the finals against Hisashi Iwakuma of Japan, where South Korea lost to Japan 5–3.
Family and friendsEdit
Choo and his wife Won-mi Ha have three children, Alan, Aiden, and Abigail. Choo is the nephew of Park Jeong-Tae, a former second baseman for the Lotte Giants. Choo has been a close friend of Lee Dae-Ho, former infielder with the Seattle Mariners organization, since attending the same elementary school together.
Drunk driving arrestEdit
Early in the morning on Monday, May 4, 2011, Choo was arrested and charged for drunk driving in Sheffield Lake, Ohio. He was pulled over by police around 2:25 a.m. because of his vehicle weaving, and Choo's blood alcohol content (via Breathalyzer test) was reportedly .20%, more than twice the legal limit in the state.
In popular cultureEdit
- Choo has appeared in Running Man, with Hyun-jin Ryu on ep 119.
- Choo has appeared in 2 Days & 1 Night episodes 567-569, initially wanting to join the show as a short-term intern cast during his off-season. However, due to funding problems, the show's staffs had to eliminate him from being a continuous cast member.
Walk up songsEdit
- Active Leaders & Records for Hit By Pitch | Baseball-Reference.com
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- 2013 Regular Season MLB Baseball Batting Statistics and League Leaders - Major League Baseball - ESPN
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