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."
Ryu Hyun-jin to slide into No. 1 spot in thin Blue Jays' rotation
S. Korean MLB hopefuls face long waiting game amid uncertainty, mixed reviews
S. Korean IOC members hopeful DMZ meeting will offer breakthrough for sports cooperation
Defending champs in S. Korean baseball threaten to run away with pennant
2 S. Korean clubs eye trip to quarterfinals at AFC Champions League