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S. Korean baseball league boasts five 40-homer hitters for 1st time

All Headlines 15:25 September 30, 2018

SEOUL, Sept. 30 (Yonhap) -- The top South Korean baseball league now has five sluggers with 40 or more home runs in the same season for the first time.

Han Dong-min of the SK Wyverns belted his 40th home run of the 2018 Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) season against the Samsung Lions on Sunday.

In this file photo provided by the SK Wyverns on Sept. 9, 2018, Han Dong-min of the Wyverns watches his grand slam against the Doosan Bears in the bottom of the fourth inning of a Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) regular season game at SK Happy Dream Park in Incheon, 40 kilometers west of Seoul. Han launched his 40th home run of the season on Sept. 30, giving the KBO five 40-homer hitters for the first time in its 36-year history. (Yonhap)

Han joined Kim Jae-hwan of the Doosan Bears (44 home runs), Park Byung-ho of the Nexen Heroes (41), Mel Rojas Jr. of the KT Wiz (41) and Jamie Romak of the Wyverns (40) in the 40-homer club.

The KBO has never had five 40-homer hitters since its inception in 1982.

The league has had four such sluggers just once before this year. It came in 1999, when Lee Seung-yuop (54), Dan Rohmeier (45), Charles Smith (40) and Tracy Sanders (40) made up the exclusive club.

In the increasingly offense-happy KBO, the 10 teams had already established a new single season record with 1,651 home runs prior to Sunday's games, shattering the previous record of 1,547 long balls from last year. The regular season ends on Oct. 13.

Nine players have blasted at least 30 homers, with two more, Jeon Jun-woo of the Lotte Giants (29) and Darin Ruf of the Samsung Lions (28), on the verge of joining them.

The KBO has already seen 31 players with 20 or more home runs so far in 2018, compared to 25 such players from a year ago.

Among clubs, the Wyverns were leading the way with 218 before Sunday. With eight more games to go, the Wyverns will need a late push to break their own league record of 234 set in 2017.

Kim Jae-hwan of the Doosan Bears, Park Byung-ho of the Nexen Heroes, Mel Rojas Jr. of the KT Wiz and Jamie Romak of the SK Wyverns (From L to R) have all blasted at least 40 home runs during the 2018 Korea Baseball Organization regular season. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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