Aug 1, 2015

Former South Korean Born Mets Pitcher: Dae-Sung Koo (2005)

Dae-Sung Koo was born on August 2, 1969 in South Korea. The six foot one Koo, was a natural right handed pitcher, but an arm injury as a child forced him learn how to pitch left handed.

He began his pro career in Korea in 1993. Three years later he won 18 games & posted 24 saves with 183 strike outs.

He won a Gold Glove as well as being named the league's MVP. In 2000 he led The Korean National Team to a Bronze Medal pitching in the Summer Olympics.

The next year he went over to pitch in the Japanese Pacific League, pitching for the Orix Blue Waves team. In 2004 he became a starting pitcher & when Orix merged with the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes he announced he wanted to pitch in America for the major leagues.

In 2005 he was signed by the New York Mets and had an impressive Spring Training earning him a spot on the Met pitching staff.

He debuted on Opening Day in Cincinnati getting credit for a hold, pitching a scoreless 8th inning. The Mets ended up losing the game when Braden Looper gave up back to back HRs to Adam Dunn & Joe Randa in the bottom of the 9th.

After six scoreless games he allowed three runs to the Washington Nationals on April 25th. In May Koo got credit for five holds, but also had two blown saves coming in Chicago & Florida.

His biggest Mets moment came in the May Subway Series matchup at Shea Stadium. Koo relieved Kris Benson with a two run lead, after Benson had thrown six shutout innings. Koo got a chance to bat against Randy Johnson & was nervous he never even swung the bat.

In his next time up, everyone was expecting another easy out, and Tim McCarver was telling everyone the same on the national televises Fox broadcast. But Koo shocked everyone, he swung & blasted the pitch over the centerfielders head all the way to the wall. He dashed into second with a stand up double.

The crowd went wild & the Mets dugout as well, as everyone all cheered “KOOOOOOOOO”. The next batter was Jose Reyes, he dropped a bunt down, & Koo advanced to third but then alertly saw no one was covering home plate. He made a mad dash for home & slid head first beating the attempted tag.

The crowd again roared “KOOOOOO” as a hysterical Mets dugout greeted him with high fives & a whole bunch of laughter. After the game the 35 year old said he hadn’t had an official at bat in 18 years, except some occasional swings in a batting cage.

Koo would pitch in 33 games as a middle reliever for the 2005 Mets, posting a 3.93 ERA, with 23 strike outs, allowing ten earned runs in 23 innings pitched.

His MLB Mets career was short lived, as his contract was sold back to Korea for the 2006 season. He was still pitching there, for the Hanwha Eagles organization at age 41.

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