Choi Hyung-woo became the first player in KBO history to reach 1,500 RBIs with a home run. It was a historic home run, but no souvenir ball. It was a mistake by the opposing team’s 19-year-old rookie, but Choi Hyung-woo (40-KIA) was cool and laughed it off, saying, “I don’t need the ball.”

Choi hit a come-from-behind two-run home run in the fourth inning against Hanwha in Daejeon on April 20. With Kia trailing 1-0 in the fourth inning, Choi lined a 145-kilometer fastball outside the zone from Han Seung-ju over the center field fence. A come-from-behind two-run homer. The home run marked the 1500th career hit for Choi, who had 1,498 career hits before this game.

The ball hit the grass seats beyond the center field fence and bounced back to Waya Field. Hanwha’s rookie center fielder Moon Hyun-bin picked it up and threw it into the stands. It was a fan service, but it turned out to be an unintentional mistake.먹튀검증

A fan in the center field bleachers, unaware of Choi Hyung-woo’s 1,500 career RBI record, picked up the ball and threw it into the stands. Hanwha tried to retrieve the commemorative ball through the stadium security team, but the fan insisted on keeping the ball for himself.

A home run or foul ball that flies into the stands belongs to the spectator, not the player or team. Clubs often try to trade a player’s first home run or record-breaking home run ball for autographed balls, jerseys, bats, etc. but they cannot be forced to do so because the ball belongs to the spectator.

Choi Hyung-woo of KIA. /Courtesy of KIA Tigers

Hanwha Moon Hyun-bin. /OSEN DB

While this might have been a disappointment for the players themselves, the record-holder Choi Hyung-woo didn’t mind at all. After the game, Choi said, “I heard that they didn’t give me a ball, but I personally don’t need a ball. If the KBO needs it, I don’t have to take it,” he said coolly.

Although Choi Hyung-woo didn’t show any interest, most players are attached to their memorabilia. Choi Joo-hwan (SSG), who recorded his 1,000th career hit (115th in the league) with a second-inning solo home run against Literature Lotte on April 16, publicly demanded that the fan with the souvenir ball “give it back” on his social media account on April 19. After his home run, Choi posted a video of the fan’s face and seat number on social media.

Choi sincerely apologized to the fan in a social media post, and the situation was resolved when the fan returned the ball. The day after this incident, a fan refused to hand over Choi’s 1500-hit commemorative ball, creating another controversial situation, but it was quietly handled as Choi showed no interest in the ball.

The ball was never recovered, but Choi’s accomplishment will live on as a 16-year record. “I feel so good,” Choi said. My memory is weak, but I can remember bits and pieces of my baseball life, and I’m very happy. I remember the Jamsil game (LG Electronics) in 2008 (April 1) when I hit my first home run. At the time, I couldn’t even dream of it. At the age of 26, when I was not even a starter, I couldn’t have imagined this, but somehow I made it to this point,” he said, adding, “I’m happy that I was able to come this far. I feel like I’ve had a great life as a center fielder for 16 years. I’m going to continue to do the same thing I’ve always done, which is get on base and get on base with runners in scoring position.”

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