Hitting in a catcher’s mask 3 days after returning home! 66-year-old Hulk’s passion for baseball “because the fans loved it so much”

Hitting in a catcher’s mask 3 days after returning home! 66-year-old Hulk’s passion for baseball “because the fans loved it so much”

“I’m a young man at heart, but my body isn’t cooperating. Didn’t I do a good job?”

‘Hulk’ Lee Man-soo (66), chairman of the Hulk Foundation, showed off his passion for baseball despite his illness.

On the 28th, an all-star game was held at the Seoul Gocheok Sky Dome before the final game of the 2023 No Brand Bae High School Alumni Tournament. This is the first time the tournament has held an all-star game since its inception last year. It was a meaningful occasion for active players and alumni seniors to play together, but there were some unfortunate situations where some players were unable to participate due to the college entrance examination schedule (Sushi).

This was the case with Chairman Lee’s appearance as a catcher. Initially, Lee did not wear a catcher’s mask. He had returned from Laos three days earlier for the tournament and was barely able to see in one of his eyes due to cataracts, so his physical condition was enough for him to start at first base.

Still, when I heard they were short-handed, I happily swung the bat and donned the catcher’s mask. Although he was holding his back with every swing of the bat, he managed to hit a sharp single to center field in his second at-bat in the top of the fourth inning that stunned everyone in the stadium, and eventually donned the catcher’s mask in the bottom of the fourth inning. It was a surprise suggestion from team manager Yang Il-hwan (Daegu Sangwon High School, Sunlin Internet High School), with whom he has a close relationship.굿모닝토토

He teamed up with Daegu Sangwon High junior Kim Do-woon (18). His body didn’t respond as well as his mind. There were also unintentional mistakes. With runners on first and second base, he tried to catch a ball that went sideways, but he just stretched out his hand and fell. He then gave up three runs on consecutive hits to the opposing team, giving them a 2-3 lead, and the No Brand team lost.

Lee Man-soo hits a single up the middle during the All-Star Game of the 2023 NorBrand Bae High School Alumni Tournament at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on Nov. 28.

Lee Man-soo talks with junior Kim Do-woon during the All-Star Game of the 2023 No Brand Baseball High School Alumni Tournament at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on Monday.

After the fourth inning, Lee came to the dugout and said, “It’s good to play catcher for the first time in a long time, but my legs are tired even after playing one inning. The pitcher (Kim Do-woon) had a really good ball. I gave up a run and lost because of me, the catcher. The catcher should have been a little more relaxed…” He said, “I’m young at heart. But I’m 66 years old, and I’ve got a lot on my neck and shoulders, and I hit a line drive, so I think I did a good job,” he laughed.

Lee is a legendary catcher who played for the Samsung Lions for 16 seasons, finishing his KBO career with a .296 batting average, 252 home runs, 860 RBIs, 624 runs scored, a .388 on-base percentage, 0.519 slugging percentage, and a .907 OPS. He is currently the president of the Hulk Foundation, a charity he founded, and has been working to bring baseball to Laos and the Indochina Peninsula for over a decade.

This year has been a big one for him, as his country, where he serves as vice president of the National Baseball Federation, has begun to make its mark on the international scene. In February, the country finished runner-up to Thailand in the DGB Cup Indochina Dream League, a World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC)-sanctioned tournament featuring Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. In May, the team went 2-2 at the East Asian Cup in Thailand, and last month, the team earned the first Asian Games victory in Lao baseball history with an 8-7 come-from-behind win over Singapore at the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games. The Lao government recognized the achievement by allowing Lee to run laps with the players in shorts in front of the Presidential Palace in Vientiane.

Lee Man-soo watches the catcher during the All-Star Game of the 2023 No Brand Baseball High School Alumni Tournament at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on Monday.

Lee Man-soo smiles after hitting a single up the middle during the All-Star Game of the 2023 No Brand Baseball High School Alumni Tournament at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on Monday.

“It’s not easy to organize such a ceremony in Laos. However, baseball is the first ball game to qualify for the Asian Games, so they said they could help us with a lot of other things, but they would do this,” Lee said.

What started out as a trip to Laos to donate talent turned into a nearly decade-long relationship with a local fifth-grader who said, “Mr. Achan, you can play baseball with us.” The good deed has now spread to the entire Indochina Peninsula, of which Laos is a part. After a short break of less than a month, Lee is off to Cambodia again. He cites the love of the fans as the reason for his continued passion for baseball and talent donation at such a young age.

“There are five countries in the Indochina Peninsula, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar, and I want to introduce a lot of baseball to all of them. I have done something to reach Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar, but I don’t think I can reach Thailand, so I hope that the next generation will fulfill the dream that I couldn’t. I want to give them a bridge so that the next generation can grow Asian baseball well,” Lee said.

“I’ve been loved by the fans so much in my life. I wanted to make the rest of my life a little more meaningful, and I wanted to do something to help others. I also wanted the fans to know that athletes who used to be loved are doing social service like this. I hope the younger generation will see me and follow suit,” he smiled.

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