Lee Dae-ho, 41, who played for the SoftBank Hawks in Nippon Professional Baseball, was reunited with a former teammate who is now a coach.
Lee returned to his old stomping grounds on April 27 to watch SoftBank take on Chiba Lotte at the Fukuoka PayPay Dome in Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan. He watched the game from the stands on the 27th, and will throw out the ceremonial pitch on the 28th.
One of the best hitters in the KBO, Lee signed with the Orix in 2012 to play in Nippon Professional Baseball. In 2014 and 2015, he played for SoftBank, leading them to back-to-back Japan Series titles.
Dae-ho Lee reached the major leagues in 2016, capping off a short and intense two-year stint with SoftBank. SoftBank invited Lee to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at a club event on Aug. 28, marking the 85th anniversary of its founding and the 30th anniversary of the opening of its home stadium, PayPay Dome.
Visiting SoftBank a day earlier than the official schedule, Lee was reunited with former managers Yuki Yanagita, Akira Nakamura, Koji Akiyama, and other former teammates. Among them was Yuya Hasegawa, who became a SoftBank coach.
Hasegawa is an outfielder who batted .288 with 76 home runs, 434 RBIs and an OPS of .774 in 1233 games (3850 at-bats, 1108 hits) in Nippon Professional Baseball. In 2014 and 2015, when Lee was in the lineup, he batted .288 with 11 home runs, 67 RBIs and a .782 OPS in 165 games (558-for-161).
On his way to the dugout to greet the players, Lee ran into Coach Hasegawa, who greeted him warmly and asked him how he was doing, to which he replied that he was now the Softbank hitting coach. “Coach? You’ve become a coach?” Lee laughed, surprised.
After retiring from the field last season, Lee has been off the field for a while and has been actively broadcasting. But he still has dreams of coaching in the back of his mind. After meeting Kim Sung-geun on the baseball talent show Choi Kang-baek, Lee said at the Korean Professional Baseball Retirement Day ceremony last year, “He is the first coach I wanted to work with since I was a player. He has a strong passion for baseball, so I can learn a lot from him. 스포츠토토 I may also become a coach someday. I want to learn how to be a leader, not just a player,” he said, suggesting that he might try his hand at coaching in the future.
It will be interesting to see what path Lee Dae-ho will take in the future, as he was surprised to see his former teammate become a coach.