“It’s a long way to go to catch up,” says Yang Ji, who wrote the history of No. 15 and remembered Kang Min Ho.

“I have a long way to go to catch up.”

South Korean baseball’s number one catcher Yang Yang-ji (36-Doosan Bears) has revealed his respect for his “two-year senior” Kang Min-ho (38-Samsung Lions).

Yang came to bat in the top of the eighth inning of Doosan’s 5-0 KBO League win over the Kiwoom Heroes at the Gocheok SkyDome in Seoul on April 22, driving a solo home run to left off opposing pitcher Yoon Seok-won.

Yang arched over the fence in his first at-bat in his 14-day return to the first team after being sidelined with a left oblique injury on Aug. 8. With the home run, Yang became the 15th player in history to hit double-digit home runs in 10 consecutive seasons (2014-2023).

Yang said, “It’s an honor because I’ve been playing baseball for a long time. I still have a long way to go to catch up with (Kang) Min-ho, but I feel like I’m getting closer, so I’m satisfied.”

As of Aug. 22, Kang Min-ho had 317 career home runs. He is the No. 1 catcher of all time in this category. He hit 14 this season, extending his streak of double-digit home runs to 14 consecutive seasons (2010-2023). Yang has 238 career home runs.

Yang cites Kang Min-ho, who is two years his junior, as a role model. Even after he became the KBO’s leading catcher, he would mention Kang Min-ho whenever something good happened. In December 2018, after signing his first free agent contract (four years, $12.5 billion) with the NC Dinos, he said, “I was able to get a good contract because Min-ho raised the value and salary of catchers before me,” and after winning his fifth Golden Glove as a catcher, he said, “I’ve been trying to follow Min-ho, so I’m standing here.”

Even after the 22nd game against Kiwoom, where he recorded a significant home run, Yang brought up Kang Min-ho’s name. “My desire to follow Min-ho is 100% genuine. I often think, ‘I want to be a catcher like him’. We talk about baseball a lot in private, and sometimes I even want to resemble my brother’s personality. Playing baseball with such a mindset, I think I’ve been able to continue to show my good form,” he said.

“Which do you think will be more difficult, emulating Kang Min-ho’s bright personality or surpassing the records he has set?” I asked Yang. “I think both will be difficult,” Yang Ji laughed.

“What I admire most about Minho is that he’s still going strong (at the age of thirty-eight). I also want to play longer and more.”

Kang Min-ho has played 2204 games in his career, soon to surpass Park Yong-taek’s (now KBS N commentator) all-time record for most games played (2237). “I want to play more than 2,000 games,” smiled Yang Ji, who had played 1673 games by the time he played against Kiwoom on Nov. 22, “and since I have more years left on my contract (with the club) than Min Ho, I might even surpass him.스포츠토토

Doosan is looking to rebound from a 2-7 record during Yang Ji’s injury layoff (Sept. 21). “I’ve recovered my physical condition. “I don’t think my absence caused the team to play poorly. We still have 40 games left. It’s up for grabs,” he said, expressing confidence in Doosan’s resurgence.

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