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(LEAD) Busan to build nation's first official baseball Hall of Fame

All Headlines 14:42 March 04, 2014

(ATTN: ADDS photo, details)

SEOUL, March 4 (Yonhap) -- The southeastern port city of Busan inked an agreement with the national governing body of professional baseball Tuesday to build the sport's first official Hall of Fame in the country.

Busan, the country's second-largest city about 450 kilometers southeast of Seoul, reached the deal with the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) to build the Hall of Fame in its county of Kijang by 2016.

Building the commemorative hall is part of the KBO's project to celebrate more than 100 years of baseball and 30-plus years of professional baseball in the country.

(LEAD) Busan to build nation's first official baseball Hall of Fame - 2

Baseball officials here say the sport was first played here in 1904. The first professional baseball season was in 1982.

Jeju Island in the southern part of the country is home to a modest baseball museum called the Korea Baseball Hall of Fame. Former KBO manager Lee Kwang-hwan opened a small museum in 1995 with his personal collection of baseball memorabilia, including game-worn uniforms, gloves and bats, along with photos, videos, books and trophies. The city of Seogwipo on Jeju Island later offered to build the hall to house Lee's possessions in 1998, but the place has no affiliation with the KBO.

Busan edged out Seoul and Incheon, the other two candidate cities, to become home to the Hall of Fame.

Under the agreement, Busan will be responsible for the construction of the hall while the KBO will handle its management, according to city officials. Kijang county will offer the real estate for the facilities free of charge and build a baseball-themed park in the area, they added.

Busan has proposed to erect a three-story building for the Hall of Fame, featuring an exhibition hall, a video room and a conference room, among other facilities. The Hall of Fame will be surrounded by the park, which will include half a dozen baseball stadiums and indoor practice facilities.

Busan officials said the city will invest 11.5 billion won (US$10.7 million) in the project while Kijang county will throw in another 22.3 billion won. Officials added that the construction is scheduled to begin in October next year, with the goal to finish it by October 2016.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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