Former MLB All-Star Choo Shin-soo celebrates 1st championship in S. Korea

INCHEON– His eyes all red, from all the tears of joy he’d shed and from the beer shower to celebrate his first professional baseball title, SSG Landers outfielder Choo Shin-soo was a grateful man Tuesday night.

“I can die in peace now. I feel like I have everything,” Choo said, after the Landers defeated the Kiwoom Heroes 4-3 in Game 6 of the Korean Series and clinched the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) at Incheon SSG Landers Field. “I want to thank my teammates. They helped me realize my lifelong dream.”
Choo signed with the Landers before the 2021 season, having spent 16 years in the majors. He had been to the postseason with the Cincinnati Reds and the Texas Rangers, but had never gone past the Division Series.

But in his second season in the KBO, Choo finally got the monkey off his back at age 40.

And he didn’t just ride on the coattails of younger players. He started all six games as leadoff man and designated hitter, and batting .320/.414./.360 with four walks and six runs scored. He had missed the late part of the regular season with a rib fracture, and wasn’t 100 percent healthy for the Korean Series.

But even a compromised Choo was more than enough for the Landers.

“Winning a title in Korea is so different than making it to the postseason in the U.S. I think I can drink beers like this all night long,” Choo said with a smile. “The boys saw me cry for the first time today, and they were teasing me. I said I was saving my tears for a day like this.”

Asked if he will be back for another go next year, Choo said, “I have 10 fingers, and I now have nine more fingers to fill (with a championship ring).”

“They say it’s nice to go out on top,” Choo said. “But now that I’ve had my taste of a championship, I will have to think about coming back for next year.”

Choo also paid tribute to his former Reds manager Dusty Baker, who recently guided the Houston Astros to the World Series title. This was Baker’s first championship as manager at age 73.

“I really wanted him to win this time,” Choo said. “I was really happy for his first title.”

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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