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Nexen slugger Park Byung-ho takes aim at another KBO record

All Headlines 09:52 September 23, 2015

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Sept. 23 (Yonhap) -- In the midst of another monumental season, Nexen Heroes' slugger Park Byung-ho is taking aim at another offensive record in the top South Korean baseball league.

Park is leading the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) with 138 RBIs through Tuesday's action, and sits six shy of the KBO's single-season mark of 144, set by Lee Seung-yuop of the Samsung Lions in 2003.

Since his breakout season in 2012, Park has been the KBO's premier run producer. He led the league with 105 RBIs in 2012, and has improved his totals to 117 in 2013 and 124 last year.

Park is one of only three players to lead the KBO in RBIs in three straight seasons, and is on his way to becoming the first to do so in four years in a row.

This year, Park holds a sizeable lead over Yamaico Navarro of the Lions, who has driven in 129 runs in 132 games. The Lions have nine games remaining this season, one fewer than the Heroes.

Park is helped by the expanded schedule compared to Lee's 2003 season. Back then, Lee drove in 144 runs in 131 games, while missing two games. This year, the KBO teams will each play 144 games, and Park has played in 130 of the Heroes' 134 games so far.

If Park keeps up the current pace of 1.06 RBIs per game, he could finish the season with 148 runs driven in.

On Monday, Park launched his 50th home run of the season to become the first KBO player with back-to-back 50-homer seasons. He had a career-high 52 last year.

Lee Seung-yuop holds the league's single-season record with 56, set in 2003.

Park, the league MVP in 2012 and 2013 and runner-up last year, is locked in a memorable duel with Eric Thames of the NC Dinos for the top individual honor. Park has hit more home runs (50 to 43) and driven in more runs (138 to 125), but Thames has put up superior numbers in other categories.

Thames is the KBO leader in batting average (.379), runs scored (124), on-base percentage (.498) and slugging percentage (.782).

Thames also has 37 steals to rank fifth and is three swipes from becoming the first KBO player with a 40-40 season.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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