February 24, 2021 11:43
After an illustrious career in Major League Baseball, slugger Choo Shin-soo is returning home to play with a new club soon to be launched by Shinsegae.
The retail giant announced Tuesday that Choo signed a massive deal with an annual salary of W2.7 billion, surpassing the previous record of W2.5 billion earned by Lee Dae-ho of the Lotte Giants. Choo said he is willing to donate W1 billion of his salary (US$1=W1,112).
Shinsegae acquired the SK Wyverns baseball club from mobile carrier SK Telecom early this year and the name and uniform of the new club will be unveiled sometime next month.
Choo's latest deal marks his return to Korea, nearly 20 years after he left the country to play in the U.S.
On his Instagram account, Choo reflected on his time in the U.S. and expressed excitement about his return to Korea.
"Some 20 years ago, I left the country with a lifelong dream to become a big league player. My dream eventually came true, spending 16 seasons in several clubs," he said. "I've always hoped to return to Korea someday, and now it's time for me to start a new chapter of my life."
Choo set various records while playing for the Seattle Mariners, Cleveland Indians, Cincinnati Reds and Texas Rangers. He played in some 1,652 games with a career batting average of 0.275, posting 1,671 hits, 218 homers and 157 steals.
Choo has chalked up more records than any Asian player in MLB history.
In 2014, Choo signed a seven-year deal worth US$130 million with the Texas Rangers. As his deal with the club expired last year, he had been looking for his next move.
He will arrive in Korea on Thursday, while his family -- his wife and three children -- will reportedly remain in the U.S. for some time.
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