captain “Baseball has two coaches, a manager who directs the game in the dugout and a captain who encompasses the team. I lead the team.”

On April 1st, the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League kicks off. As the opening of professional baseball approaches on the 5th, the captains of each club are attracting attention again. The captains who will lead the 10 professional baseball teams this year are SSG Hanyu-seom (34), LG Oh Ji-hwan (33), KT Park Kyung-soo (39), KIA Kim Sun-bin (34), Samsung Oh Jae-il (37), Kiwoom Lee Jung-hoo (25) and NC Son They are Asop (35), Doosan Heo Gyeong-min (33), Lotte Ahn Chi-hong (33), and Hanwha Jung Woo-ram (38). Hanyu Island, Oh Ji-hwan, Park Kyung-soo, Kim Sun-bin, and Oh Jae-il were ‘reappointed’ following last year, and Lee Jung-hoo, Son Ah-seop, Heo Gyeong-min, Ahn Chi-hong, and Jung Woo-ram were newly appointed this year.

The average annual age in professional baseball is 8.5 안전놀이터years, and the age is 28 years old. The average age of 10 captains is 15.7 years, and the age is 34.1 years. The captain with the most years and age is Park Kyung-soo, 39 years old and 21 years old. On the other hand, Lee Jung-hoo is 25 years old and has the lowest gap of 7 years. Lee Jung-hoo is the only captain younger than the average age of all professional baseball players.

The average annual salary of the captains of the 10 clubs this year is 605 million won. The average annual salary of 589 professional baseball registered players (excluding new and foreign players) is 146.48 million won. This year, captains earn about 4.13 times more than the average. This is because most of the captains of the 10 clubs are in their 30s with a lot of years of experience, and their contribution is particularly high. Lee Jung-hoo, the only captain in his 20s, set a new record for the highest annual salary for five consecutive years from 2019, the third year to this year. Among the captains of the 10 clubs, Heo Gyeong-min has the most with 1.2 billion won, followed by Lee Jung-hoo with 1.1 billion won. The captain with the lowest annual salary is Park Kyung-soo, with 200 million won. The annual salary of five people, half of whom are Jeong Woo-ram, Oh Jae-il, Son Ah-seop, Hanyu-seom, and Ahn Chi-hong, is 500 million won. Among the top 13 players with an annual salary of more than 1 billion won, only two captains are Heo Gyeong-min and Lee Jeong-hoo. There is no captain among the highest paid pitchers, infielders, and outfielders.

The captain is the focal point of the team. He must always stay by his teammates, know the team better than anyone else, and play a role as a bridge between the coaching staff and the players. In particular, the role of the captain is very important due to the nature of the sport in which he has to lead a large first team of 28 players. This is because if the captain, who is the center of the team, is shaken, he cannot produce good results. What type of leadership are the players who captained each team this year?

△Leading by example type = Leading by example type captains who lead their teammates by first moving their bodies inside and outside the baseball field are bound to receive full support from the team. KIA Kim Seon-bin, NC Son Ah-seop, and Lotte Ahn Chi-hong dominate the team with ‘leading by example’. Kim Sun-bin captured the attention of reporters by transforming into a batting ball pitcher in the second field training held in Okinawa, Japan last month. It is unusual for an active player to become a batting ball pitcher. Besides, Kim Sun-bin is not a pitcher, but an infielder. The reason Kim Sun-bin volunteered to take the mound was because there was a shortage of batting ball pitchers. After the 1st training camp in Arizona, USA, KIA’s entry into the country was delayed due to bad weather, and the team was divided over two days and moved to Okinawa. Accordingly, Sunbin Kim voluntarily climbed the mound. Kim Seon-bin said, “All the members have not yet come (to Japan), so I just threw a batting ball,” and said, “There is no other reason. The team comes first,” he said.

In the past, it was customary for a professional baseball captain to be appointed by the team commander. However, since 2010, team voting has been the trend. NC captain Son Ah-seop transferred from Lotte to NC after the 2021 season and became captain through a vote this year. The fact that Son A-seop was elected captain through voting means that he gained the trust of NC seniors and juniors in a year. Son A-seop is a leader who spreads positive influence on and off the field. A typical example is the home game against Samsung on September 14 last year. NC ran 6 consecutive wins from September 6th to 11th last year, but the losing streak ended on the 13th. Son Ah-seop, who thought that the atmosphere could be shaken, grabbed the microphone at the dugout to cheer up the atmosphere. Buzz’s song ‘Thorn’ was played at the baseball field, and Son Ah-seop sang along and sang along. The team came together again and won the victory. NC was able to finish with a win rate of well over 50% with 19 wins and 14 losses in the month of September, and competed to enter the round of 5 until the end. Park Min-woo said, “Having been together for a year, I realized why (Son) Ah-seop hyung is such a great player and where his passion and fighting spirit come from. Every player on our team feels that part.”

△Like a brother… Harmonious = It’s really not easy to be a good argument. In the past, the main job of a professional baseball captain was to deliver the manager’s instructions to his juniors and control the team as a military leader. But these days, a sense of balance is essential. The role of a bridge between seniors and rookies, players and coaching staff is a top priority. The captain must have an open mind and listen to the diverse voices within the squad.

So, this year’s professional baseball captains are generally of the harmonious type. The charm of KT Park Kyung-soo, who has been captaining for 5 years, is his dedication and consideration. He gained the trust of the club and players by taking the lead in every difficult task. In particular, it does not unilaterally impose the instructions of the club or coaching staff, but collects the opinions of the players and actively suggests them to the coaching staff. Added to this is a kind personality. Park Kyung-soo approaches his juniors and younger siblings first and speaks to them. So, his side is always crowded with his juniors. A good example is when he returned to his dorm after treatment after being injured in Game 3 of the Korean Series in 2021, and his juniors flooded into his room. At that time, Park Kyung-soo returned 40 cups of coffee for his juniors the next day. KT coach Lee Kang-cheol praised him as “an exemplary captain as his attachment to the team and sense of belonging are extraordinary.”

Heo Gyeong-min, the captain of Doosan, is also a representative representative of the harmony type. Heo Kyung-min was delighted to say, “I got his wife’s permission and loaded the bullet (money)” ahead of his departure to Australia’s spring camp this year. Heo Gyeong-min wore the captain’s armband for the first time this year, and set the camp goal to have a meal with former players. Heo Gyeong-min’s wife gave her husband a meal fund and opened fire in support. Heo Kyung-min used his rest days throughout his spring camp this year to buy food for his juniors. He sometimes stopped by the shopping mall and presented shoes and clothes to players of low annual and low salaries. A Doosan official hinted, “At this year’s camp, most of the players had meal time with Heo Kyung-min.” Hanwha captain Jung Woo-ram is the only pitcher among 10 team captains this year. A smile never leaves Jung Woo-ram’s face. Jung Woo-ram’s nickname is the king of positivity. Jung Woo-ram’s baseball philosophy is also “Let’s laugh anyway.” However, ‘Chief Jung Woo-Ram’ has such a cheerful personality and takes himself as the mood maker of the team. An official from Hanwha’s public relations team explained, “There is no junior who does not follow because he approached me casually and gave friendly advice.” LG Oh Ji-hwan is similar. Seniors and juniors within LG have a lot of determination. Oh Ji-hwan is also busy outside the baseball field. He takes good care of his juniors and arranges meetings for senior players. Oh Ji-hwan even takes care of the birthday of the club front desk.

△Skillful and charismatic = There is a strict hierarchy in the professional baseball team. So, the captain must take on the role of a ‘villain’ who does not hesitate to speak bitterly. Some managers give the captain enormous power, but the captain’s influence on the squad often exceeds that of the coach. In addition, the captain is given a position allowance of 1 million won per month, although it is different for each club.

So, charisma has been one of the virtues of captaincy since before. SSG Hanyu Island is full of charisma. Hanyu Island is not a talker. He has a blunt personality and doesn’t talk much. But actions take precedence over words. and diligent When I train, I go to work first. After training and games, he even takes care of cleaning up. The nickname of Hanyu Island is Akbari. He worked hard with his innate spirit and became the representative slugger of the KBO league. Here, he leads by example with sincerity and seriousness about baseball more than anyone else, and sets a good example for his juniors. Living together with his juniors, watching him from the sidelines and listening to his words are a good experience in itself.

On the other hand, Samsung Oh Jae-il leads the team with ‘soft’ charisma. Oh Jae-il made his debut at Hyundai in 2005, but did not take his place for 10 years. However, he did not give up and worked hard to become the best slugger representing the league. He’s a self-made star, but he’s not arrogant. His gentle and calm manner of speech is extremely persuasive to his juniors. However, the style of speaking. He seems to be infinitely merciful, but there is something he can’t stand. It is a violation of the principle of consideration and sacrifice. He prioritized us over himself and the team over individuals, and we won’t tolerate violations of that.

For a captain to have a voice among star players with high ransoms, grades must be backed up. This is because professional baseball is a group of players who receive annual salaries ranging from tens of millions of won to as many as billions of won. Lee Jung-hoo, a captain in his 20s, rose to the captaincy with his skills. Lee Jung-hoo won five batting crowns last year and was selected as the Most Valuable Player (MVP). Rather than age, Kiwoom took more into account the mental weight he occupied inside and outside the team and his performance.

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