“I wanted to burn everything down…” Interview→Extension→132 wins & 2000 innings→Retirement→National batsmen are now happy.
November 3, 2023 | by bookmeforphotographers.com
Doosan manager Lee Seung-yeop, who helped Jang Won-jun (38) extend his playing career so that he could burn his last flame, expressed his gratitude to his protégé who is leaving the field without regret.
On March 28, Doosan announced, “132-win pitcher Jang Won-jun is saying goodbye to the professional mound where he has spent 20 years. The player recently announced his intention to retire from active duty to the club,” officially announcing the retirement of the 1985-born veteran.
Jang was a key player in the Doosan dynasty. In 2015, the first year of his four-year, 8.4 billion won free agent contract, Jang went 12-12 with a 4.08 ERA in 30 games to become the first “V4” pitcher in 14 years, and the following year, he went 15-6 with a 3.32 ERA in 27 games as part of the “Fantastic Four” to lead the team to the title. With 14 wins in 2017, Jang reached 10 wins for the eighth consecutive year, dating back to 2008 when he was with Lotte.
In his fourth year with Doosan, Jang was plagued by unexplained slumps and injuries. After going 3-7 with a 9.92 ERA in 24 games in 2018, he was limited to six games in 2019 and two games in 2020, which was a real blow to the ace’s ego. A shocking 12.71 ERA in two games in 2020 pushed him to the brink of retirement.
Facing the prospect of retirement after the 2022 season, Jang Won-jun met with new manager Lee Seung-yeop in October last year and expressed his desire to extend his career. Sensing the player’s desperation, Lee said, “We lack a left-handed pitcher, so I want him to play a role. It would be a dishonor for a pitcher with 129 wins to try out for another team and if it doesn’t work out. I’m not asking him to quit if he doesn’t want to retire,” he said.
Won-jun Jang’s first half has been dubbed romantic baseball. That’s because the pitcher, who went winless for four years between 2019 and last year, went on a three-game winning streak starting in late May. The highlight was the first game of the season on May 23 against Jamsil Samsung Electronics. He took over for foreign pitcher Dylan Pyle and pitched five innings of seven-hit ball, striking out four and walking none to earn the victory, his first win in five years.
In his first start in 958 days since October 7, 2020 against SK (now SSG), Jang Won-jun recorded his first win in 1,844 days since May 5, 2018 against LG Electronics, becoming the 11th player in history and the fourth left-hander to reach 130 career wins. He also surpassed Hanwha’s Song Jin-woo (34 years, 4 months, 18 days) as the oldest left-hander to reach 130 wins at 37 years, 9 months, 22 days. Including right-handed pitchers, he is the second oldest 130-win pitcher ever, behind KIA’s Lim Chang-yong (42 years, 3 months, 25 days).
Jang Won-jun repaid his manager’s faith by pitching 5⅓ innings of one-run ball against Jamsil Hanwha on June 6 and six scoreless innings against Changwon NC on June 13. He minimized the team’s power gap by pitching through injuries to the starting lineup early in the season.
Jang Won-jun didn’t get another win until the NC on June 13. However, he remained committed to the team as a substitute starter whenever there was a hole in the starting rotation, and in the final game on October 17 against SSG in Incheon, he became the ninth player in history to reach 2,000 innings. He burned his last flame with no regrets.
In nine years in a Doosan uniform, Jang went 47-42 with a 4.49 ERA in 188 games, with one save and 12 shutouts. In his professional career, Jang is 132-119 with a 4.28 ERA in 446 games, with one save and 14 shutouts.
“This is the first player to retire since I took over as head coach,” said Lee Seung-yup, laughing, “I’m sure Jang Won-joon himself thought he had done everything he could. I also wanted Jang Won-jun to retire with everything on fire at the end. Of course, I don’t know how satisfied he will be, but for the coaching staff, three wins is not a small number. A veteran player who hasn’t won a game in recent years started in the second team, took a chance, and won three games in his absence, which is a great boost for the team.” 아톰카지노 주소
The pupil lived up to his teacher’s faith 100%, and the teacher was able to send him off on a high note. “I heard that Jang Won-jun is so quiet that he doesn’t do anything else,” Lee said, laughing, “I hope he can rest now and start his next life. He’s a good player with more than 100 wins. I hope he becomes a senior who sets a good example for the juniors. I am grateful for his hard work, dedication to the team, and silent role in the team.” The 132-win pitcher received a generous applause.