MLB's 1st Korean player kicks off inaugural Seoul Series with ceremonial first pitch


Chan Ho Park, the first South Korean player in the Major League Baseball (MLB), kicked off the historic game season in Seoul by throwing the ceremonial first pitch.

Key points:

  • Park, a former Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres pitcher, greeted cheering crowds at Seoul's Gocheok Sky Dome on Wednesday. He threw the first pitch to the Padres’ current South Korean shortstop, Ha-Seong Kim.

The details:

  • Park made his debut with the Dodgers in 1994 and spent eight seasons in Los Angeles before playing for other franchises, including the Padres from 2005 to 2006. He retired with 124 career wins, the most by any Asian-born pitcher in MLB history.

  • On Wednesday, the 50-year-old former player wore a unique “PADgers” jersey, combining his previous two teams’ names to represent both the Padres and Dodgers on the baseball field. During the ceremonial first pitch, he reportedly used a glove from his rookie season 30 years ago.

  • The Seoul series marks the first MLB regular-season game to take place in South Korea. The event was filled with nostalgia as Park wore his signature No. 61 jersey and shared a moment with Kim, the first Asian-born infielder to win the National League Gold Glove, before meeting his former teammate and current Dodgers manager, Dave Roberts.

About MLB’s Seoul Series:

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  • MLB chose South Korea, specifically Seoul, as the location for its international games as part of its expansion strategy. The decision was influenced by Seoul's successful partnership with MLB during the 2017 World Baseball Classic, which showcased the city's infrastructure for hosting baseball events.

  • The Seoul Series has garnered significant attention, with tickets selling out quickly, driven by excitement for Shohei Ohtani's Dodgers debut and Kim's return to his home ballpark. MLB aims to highlight the market's potential for growth and engage with the local fan base through events like exhibitions and player interactions.

  • According to MLB, global K-pop sensations Aespa and (G)I-DLE will perform at the Seoul series. Diplomatic figures, such as the nation’s deputy foreign minister and U.S. and Japanese ambassadors to South Korea, will reportedly be in attendance as well.

What's next:

  • The success of the series may pave the way for future MLB games in South Korea, with the league considering it as a potential recurring destination for international games.

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