Koo Dae-sung to Play for Australian Baseball League

Koo Dae-sung /Newsis Koo Dae-sung /Newsis

Hanwha Eagles pitcher Koo Dae-sung is retiring from Korean baseball to play in Australia. He announced his retirement after an 18-year career in a press conference on Sunday.

"The past few years have been tiring for me both physically and mentally," Koo said. "Although I have some regrets and lingering feelings, I think it's time for me to leave my career in Korea. My children are studying in Australia, and I learned that Australia is starting a professional baseball league. I sent a letter to the league, and they have accepted me."

Koo plans to support his family and play baseball at the same time. The Australian Baseball League is scheduled to launch its first season this year with six teams playing 40 games each from December to February. Koo will play with the Sydney Blue Sox.

"Although I haven't signed a contract yet, I have turned down a salary. Instead, I asked the team to let me play for at least two years," Koo said.

After graduating from Hanyang University, Koo joined the Bingre Eagles, now the Hanhwa Eagles, in 1993. He came to be regarded as the best left-handed pitcher in the country.

In the 1996 he led the league in wins and was named MVP of the season. He was also voted MVP of the Korean Series in 1999. On the national team Koo was dubbed "Japan Killer" for his outstanding pitching against Korea's rival.

He also played for the New York Mets in Major League Baseball for one season and the Orix BlueWave in Japan for four years of his career.

englishnews@chosun.com / Aug. 23, 2010 11:09 KST