Jae Weong Seo: Former Korean Born Mets Pitcher (2002 - 2005)

Jae Weong Seo
was born May 24, 1977, in Gwangju, South Korea. The tall six-foot one right hander was a bright prospect in his homeland.

South Korea: In 1997 Jae brought his South Koren Inha University team all the way to a Korean College championship. He pitched one season in the Korean Baseball league before getting signed by the New York Mets in 1998.

American Baseball: That season he went 3-1 with a 2.31 ERA for the St. Lucie Mets at the A ball level. The next year he was 2-0 & needed reconstructive elbow surgery missing all of the 2000 season.

The surgery took a lot of speed off his fastball & although he had a good change it effected his pitching. At times he showed good control when he was pitching well other times he struggled. 

Mets Career: On July 21st, 2002, Seo made his Mets debut finishing off a 0-1 loss in Cincinnati & collecting one strike out, fanning Brady Clark. He was optioned back to AAA Norfolk the next day.

2003: On April 6th, Jae Seo became the first Koren born pitcher to make a start for the Mets. He gave up three runs on ten hits to the Montreal Expos in 4.2 innings earning no decision in the loss. 

First Career Win: On April 17th, Seo earned his first win shutting out the Pirates for seven innings, in Pittsburgh in a 7-2 Met victory. He allowed just five hits, without any walks & stuck out two.

The Mets lost the next seven games Seo started, although he gave up a run or less in three of those outings & did not take any losing decisions in those seven games. 

Trivia: Seo did not allow a walk util he faced his 104th batter of the season on April 27th. It was the longest such streak for a pitcher to begin an MLB career since the end of World War II (1945).

From May 31st to June 17th, Seo went on a personal four game win streak, becoming the first Mets rookie to win four consecutive games since Jaason Isringhausen in 1995. 

On May 31st, he gave up two runs eight innings, for a 4-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves at Shea. On June 6th, Jae allowed just one earned run in seven innings, in a 3-2 win over the Seattle Mariners at Shea. On June 11th, he pitched eight innings at Texas allowing just two runs in an 8-2 win over the Rangers.

Combined One Hitter: On June 17th, Seo went into Mets history combining with David Weathers & Armando Benitez to throw the 25th one hitter in Mets history. Seo allowed the only hit, a base hit to Juan Encarnacion in the 5th inning. 

He pitched into the 7th inning seven inning, striking out four & walking no one before being relieved by Armando Benitez by Manager Art Howe. The Mets went on to win the game 5-0. The one hitter came in front of just 10,000 South Florida fans.

The one hitter lowered his ERA to 2.66 best on the staff. He had not allowed more than two earned runs in any of his past six starts. 

From that point on Seo had a rough stretch where he gave up four runs or more in six of his next eight starts, resulting in five straight losing decisions. Overall, he gave up 36 earned runs & seven HRs in 40.2 innings with a 7.97 ERA in that period.

On August 9th, Seo pitched six innings in Arizona allowing just one run, but Elmer Dessens held the Mets to run as well, then Steve Finley hit a walk off HR off John Franco as Seo got no decision in the Mets loss.

From August 16th to August 26th, he won three straight games to get to .5000 at 8-8. On August 16th, he gave up four runs to the Rockies, but the Mets gave him plenty of run support in the 13-4 win at Shea. 

From August 31st to September 16th, he lost four straight games but gave up just one earned run in two of them. On the September 5th loss, the Mets were shut out by Vicente Padilla (8 innings) & Rheal Cormier 1-0. On September 16th, he gave up two runs to the Cubs but Mark Prior beat the Mets 3-2.

Seo won his final game of year allowing just one earned run for the fourth time in his last five starts. In September he posted 1.71 ERA & held opponents to a .212 batting average in five games with just one win to show for it.

On the year he was 9-12 with a 3.82 ERA. His 3.25 ERA on the road was ninth lowest in the NL. Seo struck out 110 batters & walking 46 in 188 innings of work, in 32 games (31 starts). Seo was first in innings & starts among NL Rookie pitchers. 

Trivia: Seo was the first Mets rookie since Ron Darling & Dwight Gooden (1984) to make 30 starts in a season.

2004: Seo started out the season making relief appearances. On April 10th, he came on in the 6th inning in Montreal in a scoreless game. In the 7th he gave up a run & took the loss as John Patterson shut out the Mets thru seven innings & the Expo bullpen closed out the 1-0 shutout.  

On April 18th he made his first start, it was a nightmare as he gave up a season high seven runs, on ten hits in just 4.1 innings of work, taking a loss to the Pirates at Shea. Seo started out the year at 0-3. On April 29th, he beat the Dodgers in L.A. for his first win of the season. By the end of June, he got his record up to 4-5 then lost two more games in July.

Pinch Runner: On May 9th, with the Mets down5-3 to the Brewers in the bottom of the 8th inning, Seo was brought in to pinch run for Mike Piazza as the tying run on second base. Ty Wigginton singled off Dave Burba & Seo slid into the plate scoring the tying run. The Mets win it on Kaz Mausui's walk off double.

Two Hits at the Plate: On July 21st, Seo had a career high two hit game at bat, collecting a single & double off the Expos John Patterson in a 5-4 Mets win.

He was sent down to AAA Norfolk thru most of August returning on August 28th where he pitched into the 7th inning allowing just one run to the Dodgers, taking no decision. In September he took three straight losses where he made starts. On September 25th, he ended the season with a relief win, pitching a scoreless 11th inning against the Cubs as the Mets won the game on Craig Brazell's walk off HR.

Seo finished up the 2004 season at 5-10 with a 4.90 ERA. He struck out 54 walked 50 in117.2 innings in 24 appearances (21 starts).

In 2005 he began the year at AAA Norfolk getting called up in early August.

Flushing, NY: He was popular in Flushing with the large Korean population, as many of Korean / Americans would come to watch him pitch.

Unfortunately, Jae did not get along well with Mets pitching Coach Rick Peterson, who tried to keep changing his pitching style to make up for his lack of a good fastball. He finally seemed to use Peterson’s advice and developed a splitter & good slider.

2005: Seo started out the season with a win over the Nationals giving up just a run in six innings. On April 29th, he took a loss to Livan Hernandez & the Nat's in D.C.

he went on a personal six game win streak, where he also threw 20 scoreless innings, allowing just one earned run in 30 innings over four starts.

On May 4th, Jae shut out the Phillies into the 8th inning, allowing just one hit & striking out a season high eight along the way in the 3-2 Mets win.

After the win he sent down to AAA Norfolk for the next two months. Seo returned on August 6th & shut out the Cubs in 7.1 innings to earn his second win. It was the start of a five-game win streak. He lowered his ERA to 1.42 & he would keep it below two for another month.

On August 13th, he shut out the Dodgers for six innings, extending his scoreless innings streak to 20. The Mets won the game 5-1 as Seo got to 4-1. 

Seo's next start came against the Nationals, he pitched another eight-shutout innings for his fourth straight win. On August 19th, he earned a win in Arizona giving up two runs, the most runs he had allowed since April 29th. 

On September 4th, Jae earned a victory in Florida, giving up just a run in seven innings of work striking out six. In his first nine starts he had given up one earned run or less six times.

In September 9th Seo gave up three runs & took his first loss since April. His ERA was still below two at 1.98. After three no decisions he closed out the year with a 3-1 win over the Rockies on October 1st.

On the year Seo was 8-2, posting a career best 2.59 ERA. He struck out 59 & walked 16 in 90 innings pitched over 14 appearances, all starts. His ERA & winning percentage were best among the Mets starters.

In January of 2006 Seo was traded with Tim Hamulack to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Dauner Sanchez and Steve Schmoll.

Mets Career Stats: In his four-year Mets career Seo was 22-24 with a 3.85 ERA, 224 strike outs
112 walks in 397 innings pitched in 71 appearances making 66 starts.

Post Mets Career: In 2006, Seo would struggle going 3-12 with a 5.33 ERA pitching for the
Dodgers & Tampa Rays that season. In 2007 he pitched in just eleven games closing out his
MLB career.

Career Stats: In six season career Seo was 28-40 with a 4.60 ERA. He had 340 strike outs with 184 walks in 606 innings of work in 118 games pitched making 102 starts. At bat he hit .115 with five RBIs.

In 2006, Seo pitched for South Korea in the World Baseball Classic, pitching six scoreless innings against Japan in the semifinals. In 2007 he went back to pitch in the Koren Pro Baseball League.

Family: Jae & his wife Joo Hyun have a daughter Ellen.


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