“As a baseball player, my bowl has ended here.” On the afternoon of the 8th, he announced on his personal SNS, “After much consideration, I have decided to retire.”
At the end of Kang Ri-ho’s baseball life, there was a lot of regret. He continued his professional life for 13 years after receiving the first nomination for Woori Heroes (currently Kiwoom) in 2009, and the FA declaration got in the way.메이저사이트
KBO League total 13 seasons, 402 appearances, 638.2 innings, 32 wins, 29 losses, 2 saves, 48 holds, an average ERA of 5.07. In the 2022 season, his last professional year, when he was a member of the Lotte Giants, he posted an earned run average of 5.48 in 29 games and 21.1 innings.
He was noted as a bullpen long relief resource (a pitcher responsible for the longest innings after a starter), but control was a weakness. After all, no team was looking for him after the FA declaration. Afterwards, the path he chose was a ‘re-challenge’ in an independent baseball team.
It was a pitiful situation. In a situation where he could not sign a contract with the so-called ‘FA Mia’ professional club, the only condition for him to continue his career was independent baseball.
However, Kang Ri-ho’s decision to retire was unexpectedly cool. On the same evening, Kang Ri-ho, who had an interview with MHN Sports, said, “I thought it was right to quit. My bowl as a baseball player ended here.”
His self-reproach for his own shortcomings was greater than his regret. In front of the modifier ‘FA missing’, he thought that the situation was caused by his own inadequacies, not unfairness and resentment.
Also, Kang Ri-ho recalled about his professional life, “I didn’t achieve great achievements, but I put a lot of meaning into the experience of risking my life on one thing really hard.”
“The bottom line is that there are many better players than me (professional),” he said.
Kang Ri-ho and Gapyeong Wales Independent Baseball Team players. Photo = Kang Ri-ho’s personal SNS
In independent baseball, Kang Ri-ho’s baseball played a big role in erasing all these regrets.
He said, “In the professional league, I mainly pitched in the bullpen. The ‘starting pitcher’ mound remained in one side of my heart. I felt satisfied playing as a starting pitcher in an independent league.”
Regarding the independent league players who played the ground until the end like himself, he said, “It is true that there are shortcomings compared to the pros. Nevertheless, there are plenty of players with sufficient competitiveness.” It is stronger than most Futures teams. That’s why I think that pitchers who can throw more than 5 innings against two teams are competitive in the first team. I hope that the independent league will be interested in many people.”
If there is any regret left for Kang Ri-ho, it is ‘longing’ for raising the team in his hometown.
He said, “In fact, I missed Kiwoom when I was in NC and Lotte, where I belonged. My colleagues who played baseball together at Kiwoom gave me unconditional support. I am still grateful.”
Now Kang Ri-ho begins his second life. There is no set itinerary. However, the word firmly engraved on one side of Kang Ri-ho’s chest is ‘fans’ love’.
Kang Ri-ho said, “Thank you for supporting baseball player Kang Ri-ho. I will cherish the support, love, and passionate support you have sent me for a long time. I hope you will always be happy.”