KBO League

KBO League
Current season, competition or edition:

Current sports event 2019 KBO League season
KBO League.svg
Sport Baseball
Founded 1982
Founder Korea Baseball Organization
No. of teams 10
Country South Korea
Most recent

Doosan Bears (6th title)
Most titles Kia Tigers (11 titles)
TV partner(s) KBS, MBC, SBS, SPOTV
Official website

The KBO League (KoreanKBO 리그),[1][2] originally called the Korea Baseball Championship (Korean한국야구선수권대회; Romanization: Hanguk Yagu Seonsukkwon Daehoe), is the highest level league of baseball in South Korea. The KBO League was founded with six franchises in 1982, and has expanded to ten franchises.[3] Nine of the ten franchises are named after the companies or business conglomerates which own them, while one sold their naming rights (Woori Heroes in 2008, Nexen Heroes from 2010 to 2018, and Kiwoom Heroes from 2019).[4] The KBO League is the most popular sports league in South Korea.[5] Kia Tigers (formerly Haitai Tigers) are the most successful team, having won 11 out of the 38 championships.

History [ edit ]

The first game was played on March 27, 1982 between Samsung Lions and the MBC Chungyong (now the LG Twins) at Dongdaemun Baseball Stadium, Seoul. Then-president Chun Doo-hwan threw the first pitch.

The inaugural franchises were:

In 1985, the Sammi Superstars became known as the Cheongbo Pintos. The next year, 1986, saw some major changes, with the OB Bears moving from Daejeon to share the Seoul's Jamsil Baseball Stadium with MBC Chungyong in Seoul. A new franchise, the Binggrae Eagles, joined to replace vacancy of Daejeon by OB's moving and expanding the league to seven franchises. 1988 saw the Cheongbo Pintos change ownership again, becoming the Pacific Dolphins. In 1990, MBC Chungyong became the LG Twins and an eighth franchise was added, the Ssangbangwool Raiders who represented the Jeollabuk-do region.

There was little change in the 1990s except for a few major sponsors: in 1993 the Binggrae Eagles became the Hanwha Eagles, in 1995 the Pacific Dolphins became the Hyundai Unicorns and the OB Bears in 1999 became the Doosan Bears. Bigger changes were affected in 2000 when the Hyundai Unicorns moved from Incheon to Suwon, and a new franchise, the SK Wyverns took their place in Incheon. The Ssangbangwool Raiders became defunct. In 2001, the Haitai Tigers became the Kia Tigers.

In 2008, the Hyundai Unicorns franchise was disbanded, re-founded as the Woori Heroes and moved to Mok-dong in Seoul. In 2010, the team's naming rights were sold to Nexen Tire and the team was renamed Nexen Heroes, until the end of the 2018 season, when its naming rights were sold to Kiwoom Securities.

Expansion resumed in the 2010s, with the addition of the NC Dinos, located in Changwon, which joined the league in 2013. It is the first team located in Changwon, the city having previously been the second home of the nearby Lotte Giants.

In 2015, the KT Wiz became the league's tenth franchise. They play their home games in Suwon, which had not had a team since the Hyundai Unicorns' disbandment.

Several KBO players have also successfully transitioned from the KBO to the Major Leagues, such as Ryu Hyun-Jin, Kang Jung-Ho or Kim Hyun-soo.

Season structure [ edit ]

Starting with the 2015 season, each team plays 144 games in the regular season, increased from 128 due to the addition of the KT Wiz to the league. Each team plays every other team 16 times.[6]

KBO All-Star Game [ edit ]

In mid-July of every season, the best players participate in the KBO All-Star Game. The franchises participating are divided into two sets of teams: Dream All-Stars (Doosan, KT, Lotte, Samsung, and SK) and Nanum All-Stars (Kia, Hanwha, LG, NC and Kiwoom). The KBO All-star game does not determine home-field advantage in the KBO Korean Series.

Playoffs [ edit ]

The KBO League's season culminates in its championship series, known as the KBO Korean Series. Currently, the top five teams qualify for the post-season based on win/loss records. The lowest-qualifying teams face off in a step-ladder playoff system, where each winner then faces the next-highest team, culminating in the Korean Series against the top-ranked team.

  • KBO Wild Card Game: fifth-place team vs. fourth-place team
Fourth-place team starts the series with a 1–0 lead and advances with one win or a tie, while the fifth-place team must win twice to advance.
  • KBO Semi-playoffs: KBO Wild Card Game winner vs. third-place team
Best of five series.
  • KBO Playoffs: KBO Semi-playoffs winner vs. second-place team
Best of five series.
  • KBO Korean Series: KBO Playoffs winner vs. first-place team
Best of seven series.

Any playoff games ending in an official tie are replayed, thereby raising the possibility of a close series containing more than the scheduled five or seven games.

Rules [ edit ]

Traditionally, South Korean professional baseball games have a maximum number of extra innings before a game is declared an official tie. The KBO abolished this limit for the 2008 season, however it was reinstated in 2009, with a 12-innings limit imposed during regular season, 15-innings limit for playoff games.[7] The league places a cap on the number of foreign players allowed on club rosters. The foreign player limit is set at three, increased from two players from 2014.

The designated hitter rule is universal in KBO.

Teams [ edit ]

Team City Stadium Capacity Joined
Doosan Bears Seoul Jamsil Baseball Stadium 25,553 1982
Hanwha Eagles Daejeon Daejeon Hanbat Baseball Stadium 13,000 1986
Kia Tigers Gwangju Gwangju-Kia Champions Field 22,244 1982
Kiwoom Heroes Seoul Gocheok Sky Dome 16,813 2008
KT Wiz Suwon Suwon Baseball Stadium 22,067 2015
LG Twins Seoul Jamsil Baseball Stadium 25,553 1982
Lotte Giants Busan Busan Sajik Baseball Stadium 26,800 1982
NC Dinos Changwon Changwon NC Park 22,011 2013
Samsung Lions Daegu Daegu Samsung Lions Park 24,000 1982
SK Wyverns Incheon Munhak Baseball Stadium 26,000 2000
Defunct clubs
Team City Stadium Joined Ceased
Hyundai Unicorns Suwon Suwon Baseball Stadium 1982 2008
Ssangbangwool Raiders Jeonju Jeonju Baseball Stadium 1991 1999

Sponsorship [ edit ]

Period Sponsor Name
1982–1999 No sponsor Korea Professional Baseball
2000–2001 Samsung Securities Samsung Cup Professional Baseball
2002–2004 Samsung Securities Cup Professional Baseball
2005–2008 Samsung Electronics Samsung PAVV Professional Baseball
2009–2010 CJ Internet CJ Magumagu Professional Baseball
2011 Lotte Card Lotte Card Professional Baseball
2012 Paldo Paldo Professional Baseball
2013–2014 Korea Yakult Korea Yakult 7even Professional Baseball
2015–2017 Tirebank Tirebank KBO League
2018– Shinhan Bank Shinhan Bank MY CAR KBO League

Ballparks [ edit ]

Doosan Bears / LG Twins Hanwha Eagles Kia Tigers Kiwoom Heroes KT Wiz
Jamsil Baseball Stadium Hanwha Life Eagles Park Gwangju-Kia Champions Field Gocheok Sky Dome Suwon kt wiz park
Capacity: 25,553 Capacity: 13,000 Capacity: 22,244 Capacity: 16,813 Capacity: 22,067
Jamsil Baseball Stadium panorama (April 28 2017).jpg Daejeon Hanbat Baseball Stadium.jpg Gwangju Kia Champions Field View 04.jpg Gocheok Sky Dome interior.jpg 20150531 KT Wiz vs Doosan Bears (2).jpg
Lotte Giants NC Dinos Samsung Lions SK Wyverns
Busan Sajik Baseball Stadium Changwon NC Park Daegu Samsung Lions Park Munhak Baseball Stadium
Capacity: 26,800 Capacity: 22,011 Capacity: 24,000 Capacity: 26,000
Busan Sajik Stadium 20080706.JPG DAEGU.PNG Munhak Baseball Stadium 20150711 SK vs Kia.jpg

In addition to these ballparks, the Lotte Giants play some games at Ulsan Munsu Baseball Stadium, the Samsung Lions at Pohang Baseball Stadium and the Hanwha Eagles at Cheongju Baseball Stadium.

Champions [ edit ]

Club Champions Runners-up Winning seasons Runners-up seasons
Kia Tigers 11 0 1983, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2009, 2017
Samsung Lions 8 10 1985, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 1982, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1993, 2001, 2004, 2010, 2015
Doosan Bears 6 7 1982, 1995, 2001, 2015, 2016, 2019 2000, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2013, 2017, 2018
SK Wyverns 4 4 2007, 2008, 2010, 2018 2003, 2009, 2011, 2012
Hyundai Unicorns (defunct) 4 2 1998, 2000, 2003, 2004 1994, 1996
LG Twins 2 4 1990, 1994 1983, 1997, 1998, 2002
Lotte Giants 2 3 1984, 1992 1985, 1995, 1999
Hanwha Eagles 1 5 1999 1988, 1989, 1991, 1992, 2006
Kiwoom Heroes 0 2 2014, 2019
NC Dinos 0 1 2016

Postseasons [ edit ]

  • 1st – Champions
  • 2nd – Runners-up
  • PO – Playoff loser
  • SPO – Semi-playoff loser
  • WC – Wild card game loser
  •  —  – Did not qualify
  • DNP – Did not participate
Teams 1982 1983 1984 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000
Doosan 1st PO PO SPO 1st SPO PO 2nd
Hanwha DNP 2nd 2nd SPO 2nd 2nd PO SPO 1st
Hyundai PO 2nd 2nd 1st 1st
Kia 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st PO 1st PO 1st SPO 1st 1st
LG 2nd 1st PO 1st PO 2nd 2nd PO
Lotte 1st SPO 1st 2nd 2nd SPO
Samsung 2nd 2nd 2nd 2nd PO SPO 2nd PO SPO 2nd PO PO PO PO
Ssangbangwool DNP PO SPO DNP
Number 2 2 2 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 3 4 4 4 4 5
Teams 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 Total
Doosan 1st PO 2nd 2nd 2nd PO PO SPO 2nd 1st 1st 2nd 2nd 1st 22
Hanwha SPO PO 2nd PO SPO 13
Hyundai PO SPO 1st 1st PO DNP 10
Kia PO PO SPO SPO 1st SPO WC 1st WC 21
Kiwoom DNP SPO 2nd SPO SPO PO 2nd 6
LG 2nd PO PO PO SPO 13
Samsung 2nd 1st SPO 2nd 1st 1st SPO PO 2nd 1st 1st 1st 1st 2nd 28
SK 2nd SPO 1st 1st 2nd 1st 2nd 2nd WC WC 1st PO 12
Ssangbangwool DNP 2
Number 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 5 5 5 5 5 144

Attendance figures [ edit ]

The league has recently enjoyed a surge in popularity, with increased attendance every year.

In 2016 season, A new national record of over 8 million attendance figures was set. There was massive increase of 1 million compared with previous season.[8]

The record was smashed again in 2017 season with over 8.4 million fans to their games during the regular season. Bears, Twins, Giants and Tigers all attracted over 1 million fans. The average game attendance was above 11,600 fans.[9]

This increase in popularity has been accompanied by the building of larger and more modern ballparks to further enhance the fan experience and their expenditures during games, such as Gwangju-Kia Champions Field (2014), Gocheok Sky Dome (2016), Daegu Samsung Lions Park (2016), and Changwon NC Park (2019).

Awards [ edit ]

See footnote [10] and Baseball awards#South Korea

See also [ edit ]

References [ edit ]

  1. ^ "The Korea Baseball Championship is the annual pennant race of first-tier professional baseball league in South Korea." Confirmed by Moon Jung-kyun, Public Relations Manager of Korea Baseball Organization. For further information, refer to the talk page of the Korean version article.
  2. ^ For the official name of the league, refer to following page:
  3. ^ "A Cheerleader Helping to Reinvigorate Pro Baseball".
  4. ^ "Korea and Baseball". koreatimes. 25 March 2009.
  5. ^ [2017 결산] 프로야구, 역대 최다 840만 관중..국민스포츠 공고 (in Korean). December 21, 2017. Retrieved February 12, 2017.
  6. ^ Korea Baseball Organization (2015). 2015 달라지는 점 Archived 2015-04-05 at the Wayback Machine (Korean). Accessed on April 14, 2015.
  7. ^ Kim Jae-Won (2009-01-13). KBO Abolishes Endless Overtime Rule. The Korea Times. Accessed on 2009-06-11.
  8. ^ "Korea pro baseball league KBO breaks nation's attendance record, surpasses 8 million". WBSC. 30 September 2016. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  9. ^ "KBO postseason opens in Korea, following 8.4 million regular-season attendance". WBSC. 7 October 2017. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  10. ^ Category:Korea Baseball Organization Awards. (Sports Reference LLC). Retrieved 2010-07-02.
  11. ^ KBO Most Valuable Player Award. (Sports Reference LLC). Retrieved 2010-07-02. See also: Chinese Professional Baseball League MVP of the Year Award and Nippon Professional Baseball Most Valuable Player Award.
  12. ^ KBO Rookie of the Year. (Sports Reference LLC). Retrieved 2010-07-02. See also: Chinese Professional Baseball League Rookie of the Year Award and Nippon Professional Baseball Rookie of the Year Award.
  13. ^ KBO Gold Gloves. (Sports Reference LLC). Retrieved 2010-07-02. See also: Nippon Professional Baseball Mitsui Golden Glove Award and Major League Baseball Gold Glove Award.
  14. ^ Korean Series Most Valuable Player Award. (Sports Reference LLC). Retrieved 2010-07-02. See also: Major League Baseball World Series MVP Award.
  15. ^ For the KBO League All-Star Game MVP, go to KBO Gold Gloves, scroll to the bottom, and click on All-Star Game MVP. (Sports Reference LLC). Retrieved 2016-10-13.

External links [ edit ]

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