SSG Landers Kim Gwang-hyeon (left) and KIA Tigers Yang Hyun-jong.
In 2024, the year of the blue dragon, this season’s KBO League continues to challenge the great records of ‘Dragon’ leaders Yang Hyeon-jong (36, KIA Tigers) and Kim Gwang-hyeon (36, SSG Landers).
Yang Hyeon-jong and Kim Gwang-hyeon, who were born in 1988 and are of the same age, have established themselves as leading pitchers in the KBO League since their early 20s, and have continued to support the league even in their mid-30s.
Except for playing for 1-2 seasons in the Major League Baseball (MLB), the two have consistently performed well in the KBO League and have left a distinct mark, ranking first and second in various career records among active pitchers.
Yang Hyun-jong and Kim Gwang-hyeon each won only 9 games last year. The two, who were considered strong candidates to break KT Wiz coach Lee Kang-cheol’s record of 10 wins in 10 consecutive seasons, were one win short, and their double-digit win streak was halted in 8 and 7 seasons, respectively.
Although their attempt at a record was defeated, Yang Hyun-jong and Kim Gwang-hyun set meaningful records last year as well.
Yang Hyeon-jong recorded a total of 168 wins, surpassing MBC Sports commentator Jeong Min-cheol, who had 161 wins, and ranked second in most wins. Furthermore, he recorded 166 wins as a starter, surpassing the 163 wins achieved by Song Jin-woo, head of the Daedeok University baseball team’s technical committee, as a starter.
In addition, Yang Hyeon-jong set new milestones, including starting a career-high 383 games, pitching 170 innings for 9 consecutive seasons, and becoming the second player in history to strike out 1,900 games.
Gwang-Hyun Kim also rewrote the history of the KBO League. He became the winning pitcher in last year’s opening game, earning his 150th win in 327 games in the KBO League, setting a record for the lowest ever win of 150 games. The previous minimum of 150 games won was 347 games, written by Commissioner Jeong Min-cheol.
In addition, Gwang-Hyun Kim ranked 4th in career wins with 158 wins, and also became the 8th player in history to pitch 2,000 innings and the 4th player to have 1,700 strikeouts.
Yang Hyun-jong and Kim Gwang-hyeon’s record challenge does not stop this year.
First, Yang Hyun-jong has two records related to strikeouts within sight. If Yang Hyeon-jong catches 102 strikeouts, he can surpass Song Jin-woo, who recorded 2,048 strikeouts, and become first in career strikeouts. At the same time, he can achieve triple-digit strikeouts for 10 consecutive seasons, putting him on par with managers Lee Kang-cheol and Jang Won-jun, who set the record for the most in this category.
In addition, Yang Hyun-jong is heading toward a new record for the most wins in the KBO League. As introduced earlier, with 168 wins, there is a 42-win gap with Song Jin-woo, who has 210 wins, but the gap is continuing to narrow.
Depending on how quickly he accumulates wins, he could surpass 170 wins and even reach 180 wins within the year. Also, if Yang Hyeon-jong, who has pitched 2,332⅓ innings so far, pitches more than 170 innings this year, he can achieve 2,500 innings for the second time in history. 토토사이트