“I’ll give you my autographed bat as a gift.”
In early 2022, during a regular-season media day, Noh Si-hwan (23-Hanwha Eagles) pledged to give Dae-ho Lee (41-retired, then Lotte Giants) an autographed bat as a retirement tour gift. It was a rather bold gesture for a junior with only 37 career home runs to make to a senior who had hit 351 home runs (374 in his final career).
Lee, who chuckled at the promise, actually received the bat on Sept. 20 of that year during his retirement tour in Daejeon. He said, “It’s a very precious gift. Si-hwan is a player who should carry Korea’s baseball along with our teammate Han Dong-hee. I’m glad I got it before he became a bigger player.”
At the time, Noh laughed, saying, “I was asked a question at the media day and couldn’t think of a gift to give to a great senior.” “Since I was a kid, I really liked Lee Dae-ho and Kim Tae-gyun, and I looked up to them as role models. I started playing baseball by watching Lee Dae-ho. I grew up in Busan and watched him every day at Sajik Stadium since I was a kid. I’m really honored to have played with him. It hurts to see him retire.”
Dae-ho Lee’s hunch was right. Noh has become a bigger player in a year. The hard work he put in last winter to improve his long ball power paid off. Lee Dae-ho, who was in the same organization at the time, gave him advice. He switched his bat weight from 860 grams to 900 grams, and it paid off. In 2023, Noh hit .298 with 31 home runs, 101 RBIs, a .541 on-base percentage, and a .929 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) in 131 games. He finished first in home runs and RBIs, and second in on-base percentage and OPS, making him the best hitter in the league. He also batted .412 at the Hangzhou Asian Games (AG) and the Asian Professional Baseball Championship (APBC) as the No. 4 hitter.
A year later, the two met again. Noh was on the podium after winning the Best Hitter award at the 2023 Nutriday First Baseball Awards on Aug. 8. Right in front of him was Lee Dae-ho.
Noh said, “Thank you very much for this undeserved award. I am very grateful to receive such an honorable award at this place where my seniors have been working hard.” “I didn’t want to be the home run king this season, I just wanted to hit a lot of long balls. I think my hard work paid off. I think it will be a memorable season in my baseball career.” 헤라카지노
He did not forget to express his gratitude to Lee Dae-ho. At the KBO award ceremony, Noh said, “Senior Lee Dae-ho and senior Kim Tae-gyun always give me a lot of advice and say good things. I’m always grateful. I will do my best to prepare for the position of the national team’s No. 4 hitter that my seniors have been working on.”
Noh again mentioned the gift of an autographed bat. “I’ve been traveling to award ceremonies and thanking you through interviews, but I couldn’t thank you in person,” he said, “so I’ll give you a good gift. I’ll give you my autographed bat, a new (900-gram) bat (thanks to Lee Dae-ho),” he laughed. The words were a joke about his close senior. But he was in a completely different position than last year. Instead of brashness, there was an air of confidence.