This year marks the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Korea Professional Baseball League. Launched in 1982 with six clubs, it now has eight with one more to be set up soon. Despite the slow growth of the league, players' salaries have soared dramatically. According to statistics released by the Korea Baseball Organization on Thursday, the average salary of players this season is W87.04 million, up 616 percent from 12.15 million in 1982 (US$1=W1,117).
The physical size of the athletes has also grown. Their average height has increased from 176.5 cm in the inaugural year to 183 cm now, and average weight from 73.9 kg to 85.1 kg. The tallest player this season is 207-cm Jang Min-yik of the Doosan Bears, who debuted last year, while at the other end of the spectrum is Kim Sun-bin of the Kia Tigers standing 164-cm tall. Lee Dae-ho of the Lotte Giants, a crown winner in seven offensive categories last year -- batting average, home runs, RBIs, runs scored, on base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS -- is the heaviest of all time at 139 kg.
The highest paid player this season is Doosan's third-baseman Kim Dong-joo who will take home W700 million (US$1=W1,117), topping the salary chart for a third straight year. The defending champions SK Wyverns have the highest average salary with W114.02 million, the only team over the W100 million mark, edging out Samsung (W95.98 million) for the top spot for two years in a row. The Hanwha Eagles, who finished at the bottom of the table last season, have the smallest with an average of W53.76 million.