“I held on like a weed” Lotte’s 36-year-old just hit 1,000 hits, and why it’s an emotional moment for him

“I think I got to 1,000 by growing like a weed”

With only 18 players in the KBO league with 2,000 career hits, it’s hard to show off a business card, but for Jung Hoon, it’s a record he treasures.

Lotte’s veteran infielder Jung Hoon (36) finally reached the 1,000-hit plateau. Jung-hoon started at second base in the lineup against Samsung in the ‘2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League’ at Munsu Stadium in Ulsan on May 5, and exploded for five hits, three RBIs and two runs to lead Lotte to a 10-3 victory.

His bat was uncharacteristic from the start of the game. With the bases loaded in the first inning, he smashed a 140-kilometer fastball from Choi Chae-heung to center field to put his team in scoring position, sparking Lotte’s four-run first inning. In the bottom of the fifth inning, with runners on first and second, he hit a 135-kilometer fastball from Woo Kyu-min to center field, giving his team a 7-3 lead and giving him 1,000 career hits.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, with runners on first and second, he hit a 129-kilometer forkball from Jang Pil-joon for a two-run double to left field. The blast gave Lotte a 10-3 lead.

Jung-hoon became the 116th player in KBO history to record 1,000 career hits. This year, he celebrated his 18th year as a professional. He began his professional career in 2006 as a developmental player with the now-defunct Hyundai. His baseball career has been a weedy one, with only four seasons of 100+ hits in a season, but he’s managed to accumulate them one at a time.

“I think I got to 1,000 by growing like a weed,” Jung-hoon said of his 1,000th hit. The 36-year-old veteran is determined to “keep going and work harder than ever.”

He also expressed his gratitude to his junior catcher, Lee Jung-geun. “I borrowed (Jung) Bo-geun’s bat because I felt good hitting,” Jung said, “I think there was good energy in the bat of a junior who was hitting well.”

After starting the year as a backup, Jung has become an integral part of the Lotte lineup. He is batting .270 with four home runs and 21 RBIs this season, and after batting just .214 with five RBIs in the first half of the year, he has turned things around in the second half, batting .304 with four home runs and 16 RBIs.스포츠토토

Lotte is still pushing for a top-five finish. They’re not giving up. “We need our veteran players like Jeon Jun-woo, Ahn Chi-hong, and Jeong Hoon to step up,” said Lotte manager Lee Jong-woon. Jung-hoon is especially determined. “The juniors played tirelessly and consistently, which gave us more strength. In the remaining matches, the veterans and younger players will work together to produce good results,” he said.

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