SEOUL, July 29 (Yonhap) -- Veteran slugger Lee Seung-yeop of the Samsung Lions smashed his 500th career home run Sunday to set a milestone in South Korea's professional baseball.
Lee slammed the third pitch he saw from Nexen Heroes starter Andrew Van Hekken in the top of the fourth inning into the left center field seats for a one-run homer at Mokdong Stadium in Seoul.
It was Lee's 17th homer of the season, and his 341st career home run in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO). He spent eight seasons in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), where he hit 159 homers with three different clubs.
He waited 14 days since hitting his 499 home run to achieve the monumental record.
Lee is the first South Korean player in KBO history with 500 home runs. In the U.S. Major League Baseball (MLB), there are 25 players who have hit 500 or more homers, including Barry Bonds.
Lee, born in Daegu, the home of the Lions, located about 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul, made his KBO debut with the Lions in 1995 and had a Hall of Fame career until 2003.
The 35-year-old slugger won five Most Valuable Player (MVP) awards and led the KBO in home runs five times and in runs batted in (RBI) four times. In 2003, he established the KBO's all-time single season record with 56 home runs and 144 RBIs.
He returned to the KBO in the beginning of the 2012 season to join the Lions.
Lee was hitting an average of .319 with 102 hits and 60 RBIs before Sunday's game.
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