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Korea: A Review of the 2014 KBO Season

Korea: A Review of the 2014 KBO Season

The Samsung Lions claimed their fourth straight KBO title in 2014 defeating the Nexen Heroes in six games. The Lions pounded the Heroes in Game 6 to claim the Korean Series winning 11-1 to finish off the series.

The Heroes have made one of the biggest turnarounds in KBO history. Since joining the league in 2008 the Heroes have been a perennial doormat of the league. In 2013 the Heroes finally made the playoffs finishing the regular season in third place. This year they finished just a half game behind the eventual champion Lions for first place in the regular season.

The Lions are arguably the most successful team in KBO history. While they have not won the most titles (KIA has 10), they have made the championship seven more times than KIA finishing the runner up nine times.

The Lions were boosted by some solid years from their foreign imports. Rick van den Hurk had a great year on the mound going 13-4 with an ERA of just 3.18 in 25 starts. J.D. Martin didn’t fair as well but did a good job in the rotation going 9-6/4.78. However, perhaps the biggest impact came from infielder Yamaico Navarro who finished the season hitting .308 with 31 home runs, 96 RBI, and 25 stolen bases.

Some other names you may recognize that had big years in the KBO included:

Eric Thames (NC Dinos) hit .343 with 37 home runs and 121 RBI.

Jorge Cantu (Doosan Bears) hit .309 with 18 home runs and 72 RBI.

Felix Pie (Hanwha Eagles) hit .326 with 17 home runs and 92 RBI.

Travis Banwart (SK Wyverns) started 11 games going 9-1 with an ERA of just 3.11.

Dustin Nippert (Doosan Bears) went 14-7 with an ERA of 3.81 in 30 games.

Charles Shirek (NC Dinos) went 1208 with an ERA of 3.81 in 28 starts.

Henry Sosa (Nexen Heroes) went 10-2 in just 20 starts with an ERA of 4.61.

Andy Van Hekken (Nexen Heroes) went 20-6 in 31 starts posting an ERA of 3.51.

Another big surprise this season was the quick emergence of the NC Dinos. A year after finishing 20 games under .500, the Dinos finished in third place and made the playoffs in only their second year of play in the KBO.

Final Regular Season KBO Standings

1. Samsung Lions 78-47-3
2. Nexen Heroes 78-48-2
3. NC Dinos 70-57-1
4. LG Twins 62-64-2
5. SK Wyverns 61-65-2
6. Doosan Bears 59-68-1
7. Lotte Giants 58-69-1
8. KIA Tigers 54-74-0
9. Hanwha Eagles 49-77-2

Photo courtesy Yonhap

About Eric Bynum
Eric Bynum is Managing Editor here at BaseballdeWorld. He spent three years as an ESL teacher in South Korea, and is now working on his master's degree in history with a focus on baseball and WWII. He has played and/or written about baseball for the past 30 years and is an avid Atlanta Braves fan.

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