‘Master’ Kim Tae-hyung, Kim Sung-geun, Ryu Jung-il, Kim Jae-bak, and Sun Dong-yeol fail miserably in new teams, and their glittering careers are just a reference for re-employment.
The LG Twins hired former Samsung Lions manager Ryu Joong-il to take over at the end of 2017. The three-year contract totaled 2.1 billion won (600 million won in signing bonus and 500 million won in annual salary), the highest ever for a manager at the time. The championship-hungry LG needed a “championship maker” who had led Samsung to four Korean Series titles. They put aside their pride and hired a “Samsung man” who had played, coached, and managed for Samsung.
It was hard not to be impressed by Ryu’s resume. The team topped the pennant race for five consecutive years from 2011-2015 and won four straight Korean Series titles from 2011-2014. The best of times can’t last forever. Ryu left the team after finishing the 2016 season in ninth place. Everyone said there would be another chance. LG reached out
LG tried to rebound under Ryu, but it didn’t work. In 2018, his first year at the helm, the team slipped to eighth place. In 2019 and 2020, he finished fourth for the second year in a row. It was a far cry from the results LG had hoped for with Liu at the helm.
Many of the coaches who have been dubbed “dynasties,” those who have built strong teams and made it to their peak, have failed with other teams.
Kim Jae-bak led the Hyundai Unicorns to four championships. His three-year stint with LG from 2007 to 2009 was a disastrous failure. They finished 5th out of 8 teams in 2007, 8th in 2008, and 7th in 2009. With Hyundai, he had a record of 778 wins, 36 draws, 613 losses, and a winning percentage of 5.5 percent, and with LG, 158 wins, 10 draws, 217 losses, and a winning percentage of 4.2 percent.
Sun Dong-yeol, who won two combined titles as Samsung manager, followed a similar path. He took the helm of the KIA Tigers in 2012, and in three seasons, they didn’t make it to fall baseball. They finished fifth in 2012 and eighth in 2013 and 2014.
Kim Sung-geun won three integrated championships with the SK Wyverns. After playing for the Goyang Wonders, an independent baseball team, he was called up by the Hanwha Eagles. He didn’t fulfill his three-year contract and packed his bags. Kim’s Hanwha finished sixth in 2015 and seventh in 2016. He was fired in the middle of his third year after a disagreement with the club.
After building the “Haetae dynasty,” Kim Eung-yong moved to Samsung and won the 2002 championship. He won the Korean Series 10 times. After becoming the president of Samsung, Kim became the manager of Hanwha in 2013, but his career was marred. Kim’s Hanwha finished last for two consecutive years. Neither Kim In-sung nor Cho Bum-hyun were successful with their new teams.
Another former championship coach is back in business. Former Doosan Bears manager Kim Tae-hyung signed a three-year contract with the Lotte Giants on Tuesday for a total of 2.4 billion won ($600 million in signing bonus and $600 million in annual salary). This is more than Ryu Joong-il received six years ago.
After failing to reach the postseason for six consecutive years, Lotte was in need of a coach with extensive managerial experience. Kim won three Korean Series titles in eight years as Doosan’s manager from 2015 to 2022. Starting in 2015, they made it to the Korean Series for seven straight years. But it ended badly. He left the team in 2022 after finishing ninth.
Shortly after signing with Lotte, Kim said through the organization that he would “reward the fans’ long-awaited expectations and deliver results.
There’s no telling if he’ll be able to replicate his stellar performance at Doosan. His previous performance is only a reference for his reemployment. He has to find his way under completely different circumstances.
At the time of his appointment, Doosan and Lotte are in very different team situations. Doosan is a team where Kim has been a player and coach for a long time. He has been with the team for a long time as a player and coach. He had a good understanding of the team’s direction, team atmosphere, and player composition. Lotte, on the other hand, is very new to him. Even if he watched them as an opposing coach and as a commentator for the broadcasters, it’s hard to know the ins and outs.
Even before Kim’s arrival, Doosan was a strong team. Successful development had produced a steady stream of good players. They were ranked in the mid-to-high teens. From 2010 to 2014, they finished 3rd, 5th, 3rd, 2nd, and 6th.
In 2013, they started the postseason with a third-place finish in the regular season and advanced to the Korean Series. They took a 3-1 lead against the top-ranked Samsung Lions before dropping three straight games.
Lotte has a lot of young prospects with a promising future. They didn’t last long, but they’ve already shown frightening momentum. In April, they exploded to the top of the standings, but their overall batting order is unbalanced. His power hasn’t stabilized.
10→7→8→8→7th. This is Lotte’s performance in the last five years. Unlike Doosan, they have not been able to break out of the mid-to-low tier. They tried to find a new path, but it ended in disastrous failure.
There are many conditions that must be in place for a coach to perform in a new team. It is difficult to achieve results based on the coach’s individual competence alone. The most important factor is luck.
Lotte is the team that hasn’t won a championship for the longest time. It was pointed out that the team needed to improve its constitution. If Kim, who has been called a master coach, can achieve results at Lotte, he will be recognized as a top leader.