Athletic’s Ha Sung Kim publishes a long-form article about the company
By Hanam Jik Reporter = “It was the year I hit rock bottom mentally,” Kim Ha-seong (27, San Diego Padres) said of 2021, when he spent more time on the bench than on the field. I thought I might have to go back to Korea,” he said.
However, Kim said, “This year (2021) was my first time in the major leagues. I decided to give it a shot and see what happens.”
Now in his third year in the big leagues, Kim is considered San Diego’s best player in 2023.
The American sports publication The Athletic published a lengthy article about Kim on Sept. 9 (KST).
In addition to Kim and his San Diego teammates, the article features the voices of Park Chan-ho, South Korea’s first major leaguer, current Philadelphia Phillies manager Bobby Dickerson, who watched Kim’s first season in the big leagues, and Jake Brigham, who played with Kim in the Korea Baseball Organization’s Grow Heroes.
Kim broke into the big leagues in 2021, signing a 4+1 year, $39 million deal with San Diego.
However, in his first year as a backup, he batted just .202 with eight home runs and 34 RBIs in 117 games.
It was at this point that Kim says he “hit rock bottom psychologically.”
It was a frustrating time, but he didn’t give up. He used his defense as a way to get to the big leagues.
“He always listened to me with a twinkle in his eye,” said Dickerson, the San Diego defense coach at the time.
“Coach Dickerson helped me develop my defense to a big league level,” Kim said.
San Diego advisor Chan Ho Park also tried to give Kim a sense of mental stability.
There were thrilling moments.
On June 20, 2021, in the fifth inning of a home game against the Cincinnati Reds at Petco Park in San Diego, California, USA, Kim hit a game-winning two-run shot to left field in the bottom of the eighth inning to tie the game at 5-5.
The home fans chanted “Ha Sung Kim” as he stepped up to the plate, and he responded with the game-winning home run.
“I was a backup player at the time. “I was a backup player at the time,” he said, “and I felt a little overwhelmed by the cheers, but they quickly became my motivation. I’m really grateful to the fans. That kind of support makes me a ‘hustle player’.”
Last year, Kim improved his batting average to .251 with 11 home runs and 59 RBIs and established himself as a “full-time big leaguer” as he was considered a Gold Glove candidate at shortstop in the National League.
He is considered San Diego’s best player this year.
Through eight games, Kim is batting .271 with 17 home runs, 55 RBIs, and 31 stolen bases, while defensively being a key part of the Dodgers’ infield.
“He could be the first Korean big leaguer to win a Gold Glove,” said The Athletic.온라인바카
In MLB.com’s mock Most Valuable Player voting on Aug. 8, Kim also received votes.
“He’s already a superstar in Korea,” Park said.
Now that he’s made it to the big leagues, Kim is encouraged by the younger Korean baseball players who look up to him as a role model.
“‘Kim’ is the most common surname in Korea. I hope many people remember me as Kim Ha-seong,” he said. “There are many talented young players in Korea. If I am recognized by the major leagues, it will increase the interest of the younger players. That’s my biggest motivation right now. In the future, we will see more Korean players in the big leagues.”