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Tributes flow for late pitcher at awards ceremony

Sports 15:49 November 25, 2019

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.

This portrait at a memorial altar shows late former Hanwha Eagles pitcher Kim Sung-hun, who fell to his death on Nov. 23, 2019, in Gwangju, 330 kilometers south of Seoul. (Yonhap)

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."

Yang Hyeon-jong of the Kia Tigers speaks on the stage after receiving the trophy for winning the ERA title in the Korea Baseball Organization during an awards ceremony in Seoul on Nov. 25, 2019. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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