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 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)