Korean Series runners-up Heroes extend manager Hong Won-ki

One day after bowing out in the Korean baseball championship series, the Kiwoom Heroes announced Wednesday they will extend manager Hong Won-ki.

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) club said Hong, 49, agreed to a new three-year contract worth 1.4 billion won ($1.02 million). Hong will make 400 million won per year in salary and receive a 200 million-won signing bonus.

The announcement came about 12 hours after the Heroes fell to the SSG Landers 4-3 in Game 6 of the Korean Series and finished as the runners-up for the third time in franchise history. Hong’s previous deal expired upon the conclusion of the series.

The Heroes overachieved in the regular season, ending in third place at 80-62-2 (wins-losses-ties). Many pundits pegged the Heroes as a non-playoff team this year, but led by the league’s best hitter in Lee Jung-hoo and its most dominant starting pitcher in An Woo-jin, the Heroes defied odds in reaching the Korean Series.

Kiwoom Heroes manager Hong Won-ki, center, high-fives first baseman Jeon Byeong-woo following the Heroes' 7-6 win over the SSG Landers in Game 1 of the Korean Series at Incheon SSG Landers Field in Incheon, 30 kilometers west of Seoul, Nov. 1. Yonhap
Kiwoom Heroes manager Hong Won-ki speaks during the Korean Series media day event at Munhak Stadium in Incheon, some 30 kilometers west of Seoul, Oct. 31. Yonhap

They took down the defending champions KT Wiz in the first round of the postseason and then upset the No. 2 seed LG Twins in the next round.

The Heroes even stole the first game of the Korean Series on the road against the heavily-favored Landers. In Game 5, back on the road, the Heroes were three outs away from taking a 3-2 series lead, but allowed a walkoff three-run home run to pinch hitter Kim Kang-min in a 5-4 loss.

In Game 6, the Heroes blew a 2-0 and then a 3-2 lead en route to a 4-3 defeat, which spelled the bitter end to their season.

But the Heroes still rewarded Hong with a new deal that will keep him in the dugout through 2025. (Yonhap)