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Kia Tigers' manager resigns six days after controversial contract extension

All Headlines 16:50 October 25, 2014

SEOUL, Oct. 25 (Yonhap) -- Former South Korean pitching legend Sun Dong-yol resigned as manager of the Kia Tigers on Saturday, six days after receiving a contract extension, the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) club announced.

Sun, widely regarded as the finest KBO pitcher ever who spent his entire 11-year career with the Tigers, hasn't had the same success as the Tigers' manager. In Sun's first season at the helm, the Tigers finished fifth out of eight clubs. Then after the NC Dinos joined the KBO in 2013, the Tigers ended the season below the expansion club in eighth place. The Tigers also ranked eighth in 2014.

In a controversial move that angered many of Tigers' loyal fans, the club signed Sun to a two-year contract extension last Sunday, with an annual salary of 380 million won (US$359,500) and a 300 million won signing bonus.

Fans bombarded the Tigers' homepage with messages calling on the team to void the new contract, prompting Sun to post an online letter to fans, saying he will try his best to right the ship starting in 2015.

Sun's words did little to assuage the Tigers' supporters, leading to his resignation on Saturday.

"I've decided the right thing to do was to take the responsibility for our poor records over the past three seasons and step down," Sun said through the team. "Gwangju (the Tigers' home city) is a special place for me because it's where I began my baseball career. I really wanted to make fans happy with good results and I am quite disappointed."

Sun pitched 11 seasons with the Tigers starting in 1985, before moving to Japan. He's a three-time MVP here and posted a career ERA of 1.20 in 1,647 innings pitched. He went 146-40 and also recorded 132 saves, racked up mostly during his second life as a closer.

The right-hander led the KBO in wins four times and in saves twice.

As a manager, Sun led the Samsung Lions to back-to-back KBO championships in 2005 and 2006, and to a second-place finish in 2010. The Lions reached the playoffs in five out of six seasons on Sun's watch.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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