Hanwha Eagles’ ‘unfamiliar’ transfer student wears an unfamiliar uniform number.
On November 23 last year, Hanwha signed a free agent contract with pitcher Lee Tae-yang for a total of 2.5 billion won over 4 years. Lee Taeyang, who wore a Hanwha uniform with the 36th overall pick in the 5th round in the 2010 rookie draft, transferred to SK Wyverns (currently SSG Landers) in June 2020 in a trade with outfielder No Su-gwang, but returned to his home team after about 2 years and 5 months.
At the time of signing, Hanwha general manager Sohn Hyuk expected Lee Tae-yang to be “a player with a special affection for Hanwha and a great personality, so if he leads his juniors with that mind, it will be of great help to the team.” In terms of his position, he was selected as a pitcher who can handle long innings, and predicted that he would play his part anywhere in the bullpen.
While feeling sorry for leaving SSG, which gave him great love and made him experience the championship, Lee Taeyang expressed great affection for holding hands with Hanwha, his home team and the one who started his professional life and made him who he is today.
His love for Hanwha is also revealed on social media. On the 13th, Hanwha released the team number for the 2023 season on the club’s official SNS and asked fans for ‘the most prominent number and expected player’, and Lee Tae-yang directly commented, “I am 46 (number)”, raising expectations for this season. and showed enthusiasm.
It is the first time Lee Taeyang has worn number 46 since his professional debut. Taeyang Lee wore number 68 after joining in 2010, and received an empty number 55 when Kyu-Jin Yoon enlisted in 2012.
When he moved to SK in 2020, he inherited the number 17 used by Noh Soo-gwang, a trade opponent, but when Shin-soo Choo returned in 2021, the episode of receiving an expensive watch and handing over number 17 became famous.
Lee Tae-yang wore number 15 for the next two years, then returned to Hanwha and chose number 46. On the 15th, Lee Tae-yang, who is currently undergoing personal training in Okinawa, Japan, told ‘Sport TV News’ that the number 46 he used in high school was empty. Pitcher Jo Eun, who wore number 46 last year, was absent due to enlistment.
He was considerate of his juniors, saying, “The other numbers I wanted to wear are worn by young friends. Each of them is proud of their uniform number.” In addition, infielder Chae Eun-seong, who transferred to Hanwha 먹튀검증 on November 22 last year, preoccupied the number 22 he originally used at Hanwha before the transfer.
Chae Eun-seong, who originally used number 55 in LG, gave up number 55 for Kang Jae-min, who has affection for number 55, and instead chose number 22, which was empty after a foreign player left. Unfortunately, on the 23rd, the day after Chae Eun-seong’s contract, Lee Tae-yang, who was the owner of number 22 two years ago, signed the contract. Lee Taeyang laughed, saying, “Eunseong hyung wanted to wear number 22, so I gave in. I’m going to ask him to buy a smart watch.”
Even if it’s not Chae Eun-seong, he has other reasons for putting down the number 22. Lee Tae-yang said, “I wanted to show a new side of me because I thought I would remember a lot of my previous image if I wore number 22.” It is a determination to forget all the regretful things he showed at Hanwha before transferring to SK and show only good performances in the future.
It may not seem like a big deal to attach a great meaning to one number, but players look at the numbers they carry on their backs and walk around the ground every day, reflecting on the initial intention contained in the number and strengthening their determination. Like the comments left by Lee Tae-yang himself, attention is focusing on whether he will be able to show his performance in line with expectations for the 2023 season.