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Retired baseball player suspended 90 games over DUI accident

All Headlines 18:12 May 31, 2019

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, May 31 (Yonhap) -- A former baseball player who abruptly retired following a drunk driving accident this week was suspended for 90 games by the league office on Friday.

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) also fined ex-Samsung Lions player Park Han-yi 5 million won (US$4,200) and ordered him to do 180 hours of community service.

The 90-game suspension took effect immediately Friday.

Though Park announced his retirement following his DUI accident Monday, the KBO said Park still remains registered with the league because the Lions haven't proceeded with the necessary paperwork. This means the suspension countdown will continue until the Lions make Park's retirement official, at which point the ban will be rendered moot.

But if Park wants to return to the KBO as a player or a coach in the future, he will first have to serve the rest of his suspension if there are any days left at that point.

The Lions had 89 games remaining this season heading into Friday's game.

In this file photo from Sept. 6, 2018, Park Han-yi of the Samsung Lions (R) is greeted at the home plate by his first base coach, Kang Myung-gu, after hitting a solo home run against the Doosan Bears in the bottom of the second inning of a Korea Baseball Organization regular season game at Daegu Samsung Lions Park in Daegu, 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul. (Yonhap)

Park was caught driving under the influence of alcohol when he got into a fender bender Monday morning on his way home after dropping off his daughter at school. Police who arrived at the scene gave him a breathalyzer test, and his blood alcohol level was 0.065 percent, more than twice the legal limit of 0.03 percent.

Park explained that he'd had a few drinks with friends Sunday night. To hold himself accountable for the accident, Park told the Lions Monday that he was calling it quits.

It brought a bizarre and unceremonious end to the career of one of the KBO's most consistent players ever.

At 40, Park opened the 2019 season as the oldest player in the KBO. He spent his entire 19-year career with the Lions and won seven championships with them. He was the Korean Series MVP in 2013, when he batted .292 with six RBIs, six runs scored and two steals in a seven-game victory over the Doosan Bears. He delivered some clutch hits as the Lions became the first KBO team ever to win the Korean Series after trailing three games to one.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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