By Baek Byung-yeul
The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) has made a final list of candidates, Monday, for the Golden Glove Awards for this past season.
The organizing committee of Korea's major league announced 85 candidates for the awards. The awards are given to the best performers in eight categories including pitcher, catcher, first baseman, second baseman, third baseman, shortstop, outfielder and designated hitter.
The biggest story of this year's awards will probably be whether Yang Hyeon-jong and retired veteran slugger Lee Seung-yuop can take their awards home.
Yang, who had 20 wins and six losses with a 3.44 ERA, became the first KBO player to win both the regular season MVP and the Korean Series MVP. In the best-of-seven championship series, Yang helped the Kia Tigers claim their 11th Korean Series title with a complete shutout and a save.
Lee Seung-yuop, arguably the greatest slugger in KBO history, already has 10 Golden Gloves. The 41-year-old won his 10th Golden Glove in 2015, extending his all-time record, and became the oldest player to win the award. Lee will compete for the award with six other designated hitters in the league including Na Ji-wan of the Tigers, Nick Evans of the Doosan Bears, Choi Joon-suk of the Lotte Giants, Park Yong-taik of the LG Twins, Jeong Eui-yoon of the SK Wyverns and Kim Tae-kyun of the Hanwha Eagles.
Lee played the final season of his career this year for the Samsung Lions as a designated hitter. During his 23-year professional career, Lee spent his entire 15-year KBO career with the Lions, hitting 467 home runs, and played in the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) from 2004 to 2011. Proving that he is the KBO's all-time leader in home runs, Lee belted two home runs during his final game in the KBO League on Oct. 3. He batted .280 with 24 home runs, 87 RBIs and 65 runs this season. The Bears' catcher Yang Eui-ji aims to win the award for his fourth consecutive season since 2014.
The Bears' Kim Jae-hwan and Dustin Nippert, Seo Geon-chang of the Nexen Heroes, Choi Jeong of the SK Wyverns, Choi Hyung-woo of the Tigers and the Eagles' Kim Tae-kyun are aiming for the awards for their second consecutive season.
The Golden Glove voting will be conducted by media members who cover the KBO from Monday to Friday. The awards ceremony will take place at COEX in southern Seoul, Dec. 13.