South Korean Slugger Seung-Yuop Lee Blasts 600th Career Home Run
One of the best players never to play in MLB, South Korean slugger Seung-Yuop Lee, known as the Lion King, hit his 600th career home run earlier this week. 159 of them were hit in Japan’s NPB and 441 in South Korea’s KBO. He’s the KBO’s all-time career home-run leader, in spite of spending eight years playing in Japan.
Lee turned 40 on August 18th, and his peak came well before MLB interest in KBO hitters developed in the last couple of years. He was terrific his second through fourth seasons in Japan’s NPB, but after that injuries gradually derailed his NPB career.
Lee returned to the KBO in 2012 and better health, along with a lower level of league play, returned him to All-Star status. He isn’t the hitter he once was, but he’s been remarkably consistent the last five seasons, at least for a player his age, hitting better than .300 and hitting between 21 and 32 home runs in four of the five seasons, including 2016.
The KBO opened a Hall of Fame in Busan in 2016, and Lee will surely one day be a member.