Choi’s retirement was mourned by the founding members and everyone else.

August 8, 2023 | by

KT Wiz’s “founding member” infielder Kim Byung-hee (32) is hanging up his uniform.

KT Wiz announced on Aug. 8, “Kim Byung-hee will finish his 10-year professional career.” The procedure was carried out as Kim recently announced his intention to retire to the club. Kim visited KT Wiz Park in Suwon, where the first team played on the first day, and said goodbye to the manager and players.

Kim was drafted by KT in the second round of the 2014 draft (13th overall) and was considered a promising infield prospect when he first joined the team, but his development was slow and he didn’t make his first first-team appearance until 2019. His punch and initiative made him a solid backup in the infield, but frequent injuries hampered his rise. By now, he was 32 years old. After much deliberation, Kim announced his retirement in 2023.

▶Byung-hee Kim, who battled injury demons, says, “It’s a shame I didn’t win a championship”

Kim Byung-hee told the publication, “The main reason I decided to retire was my frequent injuries. I had a lot of injuries throughout my career, but in June, I ruptured my calf after being hit by a ball in a second-team match, and I became very worried. I also thought that I was taking the place of younger players, so I decided to retire after much deliberation.”

As Kim said, he has been battling injuries throughout his career. Since joining the club, he has fractured his finger four times. Injuries delayed his first-team debut, and even when he reached his full potential in 2021 with a batting average in the low 20s (.288), they held him back. He suffered a torn finger while fielding and was sidelined from the first team. Once again, he suffered an unfortunate injury that eventually forced him to hang up his jersey.

When asked about his most memorable moment as a player, he said, “I remember hitting my first final out in 2021.” Kim Byung-hee came in for Hwang Jae-gyun, who was sidelined with a broken nose, on April 25, 2021 (against the Lotte Giants), and hit the game-winning hit in the first team game. He said, “I felt really good hitting in 2021, and it’s a shame that I had to leave due to wrist surgery. I wanted to enjoy the winning moment with him,” he said.

▶KT’s founding member and Choi’s best friend. His retirement that everyone missed

A terrible injury and a regrettable retirement. There were many people around him, especially the ‘founding members’ who were with him for 10 years. Go Young-pyo, Moon Sang-cheol, Song Min-seob, Kim Min-hyuk, and Choi Jae-dae were among the many motivators who supported his retirement and his second life. Kim Byung-hee said they were the first people he thought of when he decided to retire. “They are the reason I was able to last 10 years in the pros,” he said.

Kim’s best friend, “Major League Baseball’s” Choi Ji-Man, was also said to have regretted his retirement. Kim, a native of Dongsan High School in Incheon, has been friends with Choi since high school. Kim Byung-hee is the one who always sees Choi whenever he returns to Korea, and Kim Byung-hee even received a bat with Choi’s name on it to give him major league spirit. “I told (Choi) that I was retiring a long time ago,” Kim said. He said, ‘We played baseball together in high school.’ He was very sad. I supported him in his second life.”

▶Byung-hee Kim “apologizes and thanks KT fans” for his second life

After hanging up his jersey, he’s off to find his second life. “I’m still thinking about what exactly I should do. I’m also thinking about coaching. Since I’ve been in baseball for a long time, I think I’ll do something related to baseball, but even if it’s not necessarily baseball, I’ll try it if I get a good opportunity.” He laughed.

Finally, Kim Byung-hee thanked KT fans for supporting him to the end. He said, “I’m really sorry to the fans. I was a founding member, but for 10 years, I showed little because of injuries. I think I received a lot of love compared to my ability. I apologize and thank them for their support. I hope you will continue to support KT in the future.” 먹튀검증

Behind the scenes

On the day Kim Byung-hee took the field in Suwon, his former teammate, Ko Young-pyo, took the mound and pitched eight shutout innings to earn the win. After Soo-hoon’s interview, we took a moment to ask him about Kim Byung-hee. “My heart was heavy when I heard that my friend who was so sincere was retiring. I hope he’s healthy now because he had a lot of injuries, and I want to tell him that he’s had a lot of trouble, and I want to support him in his second life,” he said, cheering on his departing teammate.

Song Min Seob delayed his response, saying, “(Kim) Byung Hee is not a person to talk to simply.” A day later, he wrote, “I have a lot of memories with Byung Hee and I’m sad because I have a lot of memories with her. I’m sad to see him go, but I only remember the good memories and want to support him in his second life.” He added, “He was a good brother who worked harder than anyone else, and he was a senior with excellent self-management. I believe that he will be more successful in the future because he always strives and studies,” he said, adding, “I hope he doesn’t forget the memories we had together.”

Moon Sang-chul also said, “I can confidently say that he was a player who managed himself better than anyone else in the KBO. He was a player who was always eager and had good skills. It’s unfortunate that we weren’t able to stay together as founding members due to overlapping injuries,” he said, adding, “I believe he will do well in the future because he will work hard at anything. I want to tell him that I will always support him because he is a brother who will continue to make connections and live, not just end here.”


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