“I was released from the military and didn’t even dream of an annual salary of 100 million”… Why are we grateful to Hanwha’s 210 wins legend

“When I heard about his release from the military, I went to the Japanese independent league and came to the Hanwha Eagles, it was the lowest annual salary. Just a few years ago, I could never have dreamed of making 100 million won a year.”

Right-hander Yoon Dae-kyung (30) of the Hanwha Eagles looked back on the rough times before he became a multi-billionaire. Now he has grown enough to smile and talk about those days, and he is confident that he will not go back to those days. Yoon Dae-kyung has now established himself as an indispensable person in the Hanwha bullpen.핑크알바

Yoon has earned more than 100 million won a year for the first time in 12 years since his professional debut. 100 million won is the standard for determining key players in his team. Yoon increased his annual salary from 90 million won last year to 110 million won this year. In his 47 games as relief pitcher last season, Yoon had five wins and one loss, two holds, 47 ⅔ innings and an ERA of 2.45.

Yoon Dae-kyung, who is currently sweating at the Melbourne Spring Camp in Australia, said through the club, “It doesn’t feel real because I haven’t received my first salary yet, but I was very happy at the time of the contract. It was hard to hide my joy because 100 million won in annual salary is a symbolic meaning for a baseball player, and now I have the desire and confidence to get a bigger salary if I work harder. I also feel a great responsibility to the team that recognized my value.”

The past 12 years have not been smooth. Yoon Dae-kyung was an infielder when he graduated from Incheon High School and joined the Samsung Lions as the 65th pick in the seventh round of the rookie draft in 2013. However, he experienced the pain of being released after the 2018 season, having never played in the first division. Yoon’s heart ached even more because he was serving in the military when he was notified of his release.

Yoon Dae-kyung didn’t give up here. After being discharged from the military service, he continued his new challenge in the Japanese independent league, and as a result, he was able to join the Hanwha Eagles as a pitcher. As Yoon was evaluated as having good shoulders when he was an infielder, changing his position as a pitcher was worth trying.

Yoon Dae-kyung left a very strong impression as he spent his debut season as a pitcher in 2020. With 55 games, five wins, seven holds, 51 innings, and a 1.59 ERA, he has fully demonstrated his survival value as a pitcher in the first team. In 2021 and 2022, he pitched more than 70 innings for the second year in a row. As a result, he developed an abnormality in his shoulder last season, but in the 47 games he pitched, he was able to become a salary raise by faithfully fulfilling his duties.

The annual salary of 100 million won proved that Yoon Dae-kyung could look further up. “When I heard about his release from the military, I went to the Japanese independent league and came to Hanwha, and it was the lowest annual salary. Outstanding players get paid hundreds of millions of dollars in just two years after their debut, but I really went around and exceeded 100 million won in annual salary, and I don’t care about that. It was something I could never have dreamed of getting 100 million won in annual salary just a few years ago. To be honest, I think I am now in camp in Australia because I got a lot of luck and unexpected opportunities. Now I have confidence that if I try hard for my annual salary of 200 million won, it can come true. I have gained this confidence that I have gained this confidence after experiencing many setbacks and trial and error,” Yoon said.

He credited former coach Song Jin-woo for having been successful as a pitcher. Song is a left-hander who marked a milestone in KBO league history as well as Hanwha. He has 210 wins in total, keeping his position as the pitcher with the most wins in history. Song stressed the importance of change-ups to Yoon Dae-kyung, who was in his infancy as a pitcher.

Yoon Dae-kyung said, “Actually, I was blessed. I received help from many people and gained opportunities. Among those help, coach Song Jin-woo advised me that if there was anything I tried to take a chance, I needed a change-up.” After finishing training every day for half a year, I dug into change-ups as if studying for the rest of my studies. When I heard that I needed it, I felt like I was digging only one well for change-ups. Throwing one box of change-ups every day gave me a hard time, but now it is my new weapon. Without that period, I would not have imagined myself today.”

Yoon has grown to the point where he can give advice to younger players. “I am a player who has experienced being discharged. Maybe it is vague, but I believed that if I don’t give up, the opportunity will come at least once. In my case, I experienced trial and error very hard,” he said. “There are many times more players who are experiencing trial and error than those who are active in the first team. I hope these players don’t get frustrated there. I hope they use it as an opportunity to strengthen themselves.”

Last year’s shoulder injury was a stimulus to Yoon Dae-kyung to come to his senses. “To me, last season was a year of ‘alarming’,” Yoon said. “This was the first time I had shoulder pain since I switched to pitcher last year, and I had high expectations on myself because I was in such a good physical condition before I got sick. However, as the shoulder pain came to my mind, I was shocked as the expectation was lowered. As a result, what I liked in the beginning was not coming back no matter how hard I tried. So honestly, I felt like I was trying to block him from doing this, but I felt alert that I shouldn’t do this. I have to play against a batter with my ball and my weapon, but a pitcher who uses luck to block something hard cannot give credibility to him. I’m trying to remember the second half of last year and use it as an opportunity not to do that.”

This year, I am in the process of gradually building up my body so that I can play for one season in a healthy manner. “I have recorded many more games and innings than last year. To that end, I am focusing on managing my injuries and strengthening my physical stamina. I need to maintain my performance consistently. I believe that if I participate in more games than last year, other performances will follow on my own. I will do my best to become a player who supports my team in a stable manner in winning games,” Yoon said.

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