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Single-season hits leader Seo Geon-chang bags first MVP award in S. Korean baseball

All Headlines 15:24 November 18, 2014

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Nov. 18 (Yonhap) -- Seo Geon-chang, the record-breaking second baseman for the Nexen Heroes, on Tuesday bagged his first MVP award in South Korean pro baseball.

Seo garnered 77 of 99 media votes to claim the 2014 Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) MVP honors. He established new KBO single-season records with 201 hits, 135 runs scored and 17 triples. The 25-year-old also batted .370 for his first batting title. He played in all 128 games this year.

Seo, the 2012 Rookie of the Year, became only the second KBO player ever to win both the top rookie prize and the MVP award in a career. In 2006, Ryu Hyun-jin, currently with the Los Angeles Dodgers, grabbed both trophies.

Seo was one of four Nexen players nominated for the award this year. First baseman Park Byung-ho, the league MVP in 2012 and 2013, finished a distant second with 13 votes this time, despite leading the KBO with 52 home runs and 124 RBIs, both career-highs.

He came up well short of becoming only the second KBO player to win three MVPs in a row. Lee Seung-yuop of the Samsung Lions accomplished the trifecta from 2001 to 2003.

Another Nexen star, Kang Jung-ho, earned seven votes to finish third. He hit 40 home runs and drove in 117 runs, both single-season records by a shortstop. Andy Van Hekken, the KBO's only 20-game winner in 2014, was shut out.

Rick van den Hurk, a right-hander for the Samsung Lions who led the league with a 3.18 ERA and 180 strikeouts, had two votes.

This year, Seo, the 2012 Rookie of the Year, tied the record for the fewest games to reach 100 hits, doing so in 64 games, and got to 150 in 99 games.

Earlier in the day, NC Dinos' outfielder Park Min-woo claimed the Rookie of the Year honors.

The 21-year-old batted .298 and scored 87 runs in 118 games, and ranked second in the league with 50 steals.

Park earned 71 out of 99 media votes to become the second straight NC player to grap the top rookie honors.

Nexen's relief pitcher Cho Sang-woo, who went 6-2 with a 2.47 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 69 1/3 innings, finished a distant second with 15 votes. Samsung outfielder Park Hae-min was third with 13 votes, after hitting .297 with 36 steals in 119 games.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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