(LEAD) Heroes outfielder Lee Jung-hoo voted KBO MVP

November 17, 2022

SEOUL, Nov. 17 (Yonhap) — Kiwoom Heroes outfielder Lee Jung-hoo captured the MVP award in South Korean baseball Thursday, winning a near-unanimous vote on the strength of leading the league in five major offensive categories.

Lee joined his father, Lee Jong-beom, as the first father-son duo to win the MVP in the 40-year history of the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) history. The senior Lee earned the top individual honor in 1994.

The junior Lee earned 104 votes out of 107 cast by the media. Lotte Giants slugger Lee Dae-ho, who retired after the season, had two votes, while Lee Jung-hoo’s teammate, right-hander An Woo-jin, received one vote.

Kiwoom Heroes outfielder Lee Jung-hoo kisses the trophy after winning the most valuable player award in the Korea Baseball Organization at the awards ceremony in Seoul on Nov. 17, 2022. (Yonhap)

Lee Jung-hoo is just the third player to have won both the Rookie of the Year and the MVP honors, joining Ryu Hyun-jin, former Hanwha Eagles ace now playing for the Toronto Blue Jays, and Lee’s former Heroes teammate Seo Geon-chang.

“When I won the Rookie of the Year five years ago, I remember thinking to myself I’d love to win the MVP someday,” Lee said as he accepted the trophy. “I’ve always been Lee Jong-beom’s son. From now on, for the rest of my baseball career, I will be proud of my own name.”

Lee Jung-hoo is also the first South Korean player to win the MVP award here in four years as Doosan Bears pitcher Josh Lindblom, KT Wiz outfielder Mel Rojas and Bears pitcher Ariel Miranda had won the past three awards.

Lee was the runner-up to Miranda in last year’s MVP voting but was the runaway winner this time.

Lee, 24, captured his second straight batting title this year with a .349 average and also led the league with 113 RBIs. He fell one category shy of winning the batting Triple Crown, as he tied for fifth with 23 home runs.

Lee led everyone in the two other triple slash categories, with a .421 on-base percentage and a .575 slugging percentage. He edged out Jose Pirela of the Samsung Lions by one for the lead in hits, 193-192.

Lee is the first KBO player in 12 years to top at least five hitting categories.

Among other categories, Lee tied for fifth with 66 walks and sixth with 85 runs scored. Of 52 qualified hitters, Lee had the fewest strikeouts with 32.