Choi ‘one away’ from record for most home runs

SSG Landers slugger Choi Jung (37) is counting down the days until he breaks the KBO League record for most career home runs.

Choi hit two home runs against the KT Wiz in the 2024 Shinhan Sol Bank KBO League at KT Wiz Park in Suwon, South Korea, on Thursday.

With SSG leading 4-1 in the top of the seventh inning, Choi came to bat with the bases loaded and two outs, and pulled a slider from Park Si-young for a two-run shot over the left field wall.

Choi’s bat was sharp again in the ninth inning. With one out in the top of the ninth, Choi lined a slider from Joo Hyun-hyun for a two-run arch to center field.

The back-to-back home runs propelled Choi into sole possession of the KBO lead in home runs this season.

The two home runs on Thursday were the 465th and 466th of Choi’s career.

Choi is now just one home run shy of the KBO record of 467, held by Doosan Bears manager Lee Seung-yeop.

With two more home runs, Choi will surpass Lee as the KBO’s all-time home run leader.

With eight home runs this season, Choi’s 10th home run of the season will be a historic one. 10 home runs, Choi will become the first player in history to hit double-digit home runs in 19 consecutive seasons.

Choi, who joined SSG’s predecessor SK Wyverns in 2005 and hit his first home run on May 21 of that year, reached 100 career home runs in 2011, 스포츠토토 200 in 2016, and reached the 300-homer plateau on July 8, 2018, against the Incheon Hanwha Eagles.

On July 24, 2020, against the Daejeon Hanwha, he reached 350 home runs. He became the youngest player in history to reach 350 home runs at the age of 33 years, 4 months, and 26 days.

On July 29 of the same year, Choi hit his 352nd career home run, overtaking Yang “Yang Shin” Jun-hyuk for second place on the all-time home run list.

Choi continued to chase Lee, and on October 19, 2021, he hit his 400th career home run against the Gwangju Kia Tigers.

He became the second player in history to reach the 400-homer plateau after Lee, but unlike Lee, who was a left-handed hitter, Choi was the first right-handed hitter to reach the milestone.

With his 450th home run on August 9, 2023, against the Incheon NC Dinos, Choi ended the 2023 season with 458 career home runs.

Leading up to the start of this season, there was a lot of interest in Choi’s chances of breaking the record for most home runs.

Choi, who hit a home run in the season opener against the Lotte Giants on March 23, said, “I try not to think about the record. If you think about it, it can take away from your hitting. “My goal is to hit 10 home runs every year. I’m not thinking about the record, but I’m going to play the season like any other year with the idea of hitting 10 home runs.”

Choi has been on a roll ever since, hitting eight home runs in 18 games, and the record is now within reach.

There’s a good chance Choi will reach the milestone this week. SSG will play all six games of this week’s series at home at SSG Landers Field in Incheon.

SSG Landers Field in Incheon is one of the most hitter-friendly stadiums in the KBO. There are plenty of home runs.

In fact, 141 home runs were hit at SSG Landers Field last year. That’s more than Jamsil Stadium (152), which is shared by Doosan and the LG Twins, and is also home to a lot of games.

He needs to get over the ‘nine-homer’ plateau to reach the record. If he hits his 10th home run of the season, he will set a new record, but if he has nine, it will take him a while to reach the record.

Choi has struggled with the nines before.

He became the youngest player in history to hit double-digit home runs on August 2, 2006, against the Samsung Lions, but after hitting his eighth and ninth home runs of the season, he didn’t hit another home run for over a month.

In 2012, he hit his 19th home run of the season on August 3, 2012, and then went silent for over a month before hitting his 20th home run on September 7, 2012. Last year, Choi hit his 19th home run of the season on June 24, 슬롯사이트 but didn’t reach 20 until July 27, more than a month later.

Looking ahead to this season, Choi said, “I’m aiming for 10 home runs every year. I’ll be very nervous after hitting eight home runs,” he said, adding, “I’m most worried about nine.”

As the countdown begins in earnest, it will be interesting to see if Choi can overcome the nine and the pressure and add his name to the top of the career home run leaderboard this week.

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