MLB Seoul Series: Dave Roberts Excited For ‘Very Good Friend’ Chan Ho Park Throwing First Pitch

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The Los Angeles Dodgers wrapped up their two exhibition games in Seoul, South Korea, with no preparations left as Opening Day arrives Wednesday against the San Diego Padres.

Chan Ho Park is throwing out the ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day at Gocheok Sky Dome, a great honor as he was the first South Korean-born player to ever play in Major League Baseball.

Amassing 124 wins in his 17-year Major League career, Park left a great impact on the game and in his native country. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts played with Park on the Padres from 2005-2006, and is looking forward to reuniting with him during the Seoul Series.

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“I think Chan Ho is going to really embrace it,” Roberts said. “Chan Ho is a very good friend of mine, former teammate. I think sort of like a culmination for him, I would assume. He was a pioneer as a Korean-born player to come to the United States and to be a star player.

“To now have his former teammates and team that he played with come to his homeland, I think it’s come full circle. So it’s only fitting he throws out the first pitch. I know he played golf with Trevor Hoffman the other day, so he still has ties to people in the States, which is great.

“I think for him to get to show off his country is exciting. Really exciting.”

Park played for seven different teams, including nine seasons with the Dodgers and two with the Padres. Last playing in 2010 for the New York Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates, the full circle moment to his groundbreaking journey is a featured part of the Seoul Series festivities.

The Seoul Series is expected to be a completely sold out event. The international stop is part of the 2024 MLB World Tour that also includes the Mexico City Series and London Series.

Chan Ho Park’s success in MLB

Aside from being the first of his nation to play in MLB, Park’s longevity in the game made waves in baseball.

Making his MLB debut at the age of 21, Park joined the Dodgers following a stint in their Minor League system in Double-A. Park’s career in Los Angeles culminated in some of his best seasons leading into the 2000s.

Appearing in the 2001 MLB All-Star Game, Park capitalized on his final year with the Dodgers following a nine-year run. With the Dodgers, Park carried an 84-58 record, 3.77 ERA, 4.23 FIP and 1.32 WHIP.

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