By Yoo Jee-ho
SEOUL, Nov. 25 (Yonhap) -- The usually festive awards ceremony of South Korean professional baseball took on a solemn air Monday as stars paid tribute to a late former player.
Before the start of the ceremony for the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), attending players, officials, fans and media observed a moment of silence for deceased pitcher Kim Sung-hun.
The 21-year-old former right-hander for the Hanwha Eagles fell to his death on Saturday, falling off the roof of a nine-story building to a seventh-story balcony of a building in Gwangju, 330 kilometers south of Seoul.
Kim, son of former KBO player and current Kia Tigers fielding coach Kim Min-ho, had just 25 games over the past two years to his credit.
Tigers' left-hander Yang Hyeon-jong, who took the podium to receive the regular season ERA title, choke back on tears as he remembered Kim Sung-hun.
"Whenever coach Kim talked about his son, he always called him a hard-working kid," Yang said. "He didn't get to live out his dream here, and I hope he'll do that in heaven."
Kiwoom Heroes' slugger Park Byung-ho, before accepting his trophy as the home run king, offered words of condolences to the Kim family.
Another Kia player, infielder Park Chan-ho, said he and the rest of the Tigers will always have coach Kim's back.
"The coach often tells us, 'You guys are all like my children,'" Park said. "And I just want him to know that there are a lot of us who see him as our father figure."
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