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KBO veteran pitcher announces retirement at 40

All News 15:16 October 29, 2020

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Oct. 29 (Yonhap) -- A 40-year-old veteran pitcher announced his retirement from South Korean baseball on Thursday after spending his entire 18-year career and winning three titles with one club.

The Samsung Lions of the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) said Kwon Oh-joon will call it a career after pitching in his last game on Friday in front of home fans at Daegu Samsung Lions Park in Daegu, 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul. The team will hold a retirement ceremony for Kwon after the game against the NC Dinos.

In this file photo from April 29, 2020, Kwon Oh-joon of the Samsung Lions pitches against the Kia Tigers during a Korea Baseball Organization exhibition game at Daegu Samsung Lions Park in Daegu, 330 kilometers southeast of Seoul. (Yonhap)

Kwon, a righty with a sidearm delivery, was drafted by the Lions in 1999, but he underwent elbow surgery right away and completed his mandatory military service before making his KBO debut in 2003.

Over nearly two decades with the Lions, Kwon compiled a 37-25 record with 24 saves and a 3.64 ERA in 592 appearances. This year, he has pitched to an 8.62 ERA in 16 games and hasn't taken the mound since Aug. 23.

Kwon was an integral part of the Lions' vaunted bullpen in the mid-2000s. They reached three straight Korean Series from 2004 to 2006 and captured back-to-back titles in 2005 and 2006. Kwon pitched in 15 Korean Series games during that three-year span and had a 1.21 ERA across 22 1/3 innings.

After making his pro debut, Kwon underwent two more elbow operations, first in 2009 and again in 2012. He missed the entire 2013 season and appeared in just one game in 2014 as a result of the third surgery, though Kwon stuck around for six more seasons after that.

This image provided by the Samsung Lions on Oct. 29, 2020, shows a promotional poster for the retirement ceremony for the Lions' pitcher Kwon Oh-joon. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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