Sunday, October 02, 2016

2016 Topps Heritage Hyun Soo Kim #721 image variation

I wanted a rookie card of the Korean import and ended up with a rookie-year variation - it's a random pick-up, but the story behind Kim's first season in Major League Baseball fascinated me.

After a banner season with the KBO Doosan Bears in 2015, Kim signed with the Baltimore Orioles - fans and experts who followed the Orioles, didn't know what to make of the KBO veteran, when he couldn't buy a hit in spring training.

Kim's struggles were kind of explained off because the KBO starts training for their season earlier in the year and Kim wasn't used to MLB spring training - however the Orioles were going to send Kim down to the minors and there was boos on Opening Day, when Kim stuck around instead going to AAA.

Kim's status was in limbo, but I read where Kim just kept working behind the scenes and Orioles manager Buck Showalter finally found ways to ease the 28-year old into games - Kim started collecting hits and while he wasn't playing against lefties, he emerged as an inspiring role player for a Baltimore Orioles team desperate to get into the Wild Card game.

Kim's first year MLB numbers are fairly modest [.304/.382/.422] - but an increased role next year may boost Kim's batting numbers.

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