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Lee Taek-keun (Hangul: 이택근, Hanja: 李宅根) (born July 10, 1980 in Busan, South Korea) is an outfielder who plays for the Kiwoom Heroes in the Korea Baseball Organization. He bats and throws right-handed.

Lee Taek-keun
Kiwoom Heroes – No. 29
Outfielder
Born: (1980-07-10) July 10, 1980 (age 38)
Bats: Right Throws: Right
KBO debut
April 6, 2003, for the Hyundai Unicorns
KBO statistics
(through 2017)
Batting average.303
Home runs132
RBI714
Teams
Lee Taek-keun
Medal record
Men's baseball
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 2008 Beijing Team
World Baseball Classic
Silver medal – second place 2009 Los Angeles Team

Contents

Amateur careerEdit

Attending Kyungnam Commerce High School in Busan, South Korea, Lee was considered one of the top high school catching prospects. In 1998, he was selected for the South Korea national junior team that finished in 3rd place at the 1998 Asian Junior Baseball Championship in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

Upon graduation from high school in 1999, he chose to play college baseball at Korea University instead of turning pro directly. Lee was soon regarded as one of the best offensive amateur catchers in the nation, becoming a fixture in the starting nine in his first collegiate season. In his freshman year at Korea University, he was called up to the South Korea national baseball team, and participated in the 1999 Intercontinental Cup. In Korea's first game of the round-robin tournament against Cuba, he led his team to a memorable 4-3 victory, which was South Korea's first victory over Cuba at international baseball competitions organized by the IBAF.

In 2001, Lee was selected for the South Korea national baseball team, that finished in 6th place at the 2001 Baseball World Cup. Lee was one of five amateur players on the roster.

In 2002, Lee competed for the South Korea national baseball team again in the inaugural World University Baseball Championship held in Messina, Italy, manning the designated hitting and the catching positions.

Notable international careersEdit

Year Venue Competition Team Individual Note
1998   Japan Asian Junior Baseball Championship   All-Star (catcher)
1999   Australia Intercontinental Cup 7th
2001   Chinese Taipei Baseball World Cup 6th
2002   Italy World University Baseball Championship 5th

Professional careerEdit

Signed by the Hyundai Unicorns in 2003, Lee started his pro career as a catcher. Although Lee immediately became one of the most reliable and consistent hitters in the team, he failed to make an impact with the Unicorns as a catcher due to his defensive deficiencies. So, the team convinced Lee to convert to the outfield in spring training 2006. As the 2006 season started, the team finally moved Lee to the outfield permernantly.

In the 2006 season, he finished second in batting average (.322), tenth in RBI (66) and sixth in hits (135), and was selected to the All-Star team. After the season, he was selected for the South Korea national team and competed in the 2006 Asian Games held in Doha, Qatar.

In the 2007 season, he finished ninth in batting average (.313) and sixth in hits (137).

In the 2008 season, Lee had a .317 batting average, that ranked seventh overall, with 12 home runs and 118 hits. He also stole 18 bases, batting leadoff. In August 2008, he competed for the South Korean national team in the 2008 Summer Olympics held in Beijing, China, where they won the gold medal in the baseball tournament.

In March 2009, Lee was called up to the South Korea national baseball team for the 2009 World Baseball Classic. He appeared in 7 games, but mostly served as a pinch runner and backup center fielder. In the 2009 KBO season, Lee had another impressive performance. He batted .311 (eighth in the league) and posted career-highs in hits (142), home runs (15), doubles (26), RBI (66), runs (84) and stolen bases (43). Lee finished third in stolen bases (43 in 51 attempts) and his stolen base percentage (.843) was higher than title-winner Lee Dae-Hyung and runner-up Jeong Keun-Woo.

On December 11, 2009, he won the Golden Glove Award in outfielder nomination.[1]

Awards and honorsEdit

  • 2006 Golden Glove Award (Outfielder)
  • 2009 Golden Glove Award (Outfielder)

Notable international careersEdit

Year Venue Competition Team Individual Note
2006   Qatar Asian Games   .182 BA (2-for-11), 1 RBI, 1 R
2007   Chinese Taipei Asian Baseball Championship   .270 BA (2-for-7), 1 RBI
2008   Chinese Taipei Final Olympic Qualification Tournament   .320 BA (8-for-25), 5 RBI, 4 R
2008   China Olympic Games   .125 BA (2-for-16), 1 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R
2009   United States World Baseball Classic   .167 BA (1-for-6), 1 R, 2 BB, 1 SB

ControversyEdit

In 2018 Lee was suspended 36 games, for the 2019 season, by the league because of an incident when he struck his younger teammate in the face with a bat multiple times. Leaving him with a concussion and serious swelling in the face. Lee said that he had hit him because he didn't follow his order of getting a haircut.[2]

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit