“A long letter to a departed director…Kim Ha-seong showed me Korean culture” Park Chan-ho’s humility recognized
After becoming the first Korean player to win a Major League Baseball Gold Glove, Ha-Sung Kim (28-San Diego Padres) received a congratulatory call from manager Bob Melvin (62), who traded him to the San Francisco Giants after the season. To express his gratitude, Kim penned a lengthy letter and hand-delivered it. “You protected me for two years,” he wrote, expressing his gratitude to the departing manager.
Park Chan-ho, 50, a special advisor to the San Diego Padres, told the story of the first Korean big leaguer. “When he called the manager first, he wrote a long letter to thank him,” said Park, who visited Jamsil Stadium, where KT and LG played the second game of the Korean Series on April 8. “He is a humble and grateful player.” “When I got my first major league win, I called my minor league pitching coach (Burt Hooten) before my parents to thank him. I think this is a culture that only we have, and it comes from Korean sentiment. I’m glad he did that,” he said.
Park played a direct and indirect role in Kim’s decision to join the San Diego Padres in a January 2021 post. She strongly recommended him to the team, and even after he joined the team, she met with him in the U.S. and chatted with him on the phone to help him settle in. After a bumpy first year, Kim made the leap to starting shortstop last year under Melvin, then moved to second base this year and quickly became one of the league’s top infielders. He won the National League (NL) Gold Glove for utility, a clear recognition of his top-notch defense.
Park, who has been a special advisor to the team since 2019 due to his relationship with the Peter O’Malley family, San Diego’s ownership group, during his time with the Los Angeles Dodgers, said, “Ha-Sung’s Gold Glove win is a tremendous piece of history and record for Korean baseball. It’s a great honor for Korean baseball, but it also means a lot to San Diego. It is very significant and valuable to have the first player from a foreign country to win the Gold Glove since Ichiro Suzuki. The club recognizes Ha-Sung’s sincerity and humility, and his hard work and never-give-up attitude.”
It wasn’t all good from the start for Kim. As a first-year backup in 2021, he realized the high barriers of the big leagues. He suffered from extreme stress and alopecia areata, and seriously considered returning to South Korea. When Kim faltered, the Dodgers even asked Park to provide mental care. Park’s advice resonated with Kim, who had bounced back from numerous trials and tribulations during his playing days.
Park continued to advise Kim after his season ended last year. Even though he had a successful sophomore season, there was still pressure to move up. At this time last year, Park had a tee time with Kim at the Chan Ho Park Baseball Scholarship presentation ceremony and said, “Don’t try to move up. You’re not going up, you’re going forward. It’s not going down, it’s just a pause. Moving forward is maturity, and pausing is an opportunity to think. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself.”
After returning home from his best season of the year on March 11, Kim met with Park several times in Korea and thanked him for his advice last year. Park said, “Ha-sung told me that he played the whole season with the idea of moving forward. He said that when he thought he should go up, he would lose confidence and get frustrated when it didn’t happen, and he would think, ‘I can’t go there,'” Park said. “I felt that way when I was with the Texas Rangers. Moving forward is how you grow. I’m really grateful that Ha Sung told me that the story helped him.”
Park continued, “Ha-sung struggled in the first year, but he grew stronger through it. I talked to manager (A.J.) Preller, but I was also disappointed when I first went to the United States and went down to the minor leagues, but the club said, ‘Don’t worry. People who don’t give up when things are difficult have the strength to make something stronger out of it. The San Diego team saw that side of him and scouted him. That belief is what made him a Gold Glove winner.” 캡틴토토 도메인
Kim Ha-sung is now an established major league player. He has no more baseball advice. All the more reason for Park to emphasize humility. “I told him, ‘You have to fight with humility from now on. Keep humility closer and closer to you,'” Park said. Although he is still a good-natured and humble player, Daesebae hopes that the better he gets, the more he will lower his posture and continue to work hard.