“Brother Wonjun, let’s eat this for a long time… ”
This is what Doosan Bears catcher Yang Eui-ji (36) said after collaborating with left-hander Jang Won-jun (38), who played in the battery against the Samsung Lions in Jamsil on May 23, for his 130th win in the KBO League. In the 2018-2019 free agent market, I signed a 4-year contract worth 12.5 billion won with NC Dinos and lived in Changwon, so it was nice and special to reunite with Jang Won-jun.
It took Wonjun Jang five years to go from 129 wins to 130 wins. The 129th win was against Jamsil LG on May 5, 2018. In other words, Jang Won-jun’s wanderings coincide with a period in Doosan’s history when Yang Eui-ji was briefly absent. This season, Jang Won-jun celebrated his final meaningful season with the help of the returning Yang Eui-ji.
Yang Eui-ji and Jang Won-jun were the soul batteries that were with Doosan during its heyday. Jang Won-jun entered Jamsil with a 4-year 8 billion won free agent contract in 2014-2015, and Yang Eui-ji’s help was great for continuing the ‘Jang Ku-jun’ mode at Doosan. So, the two people who met after a long time were quite affectionate.
Yang Eui-ji’s “I’ll eat this for a long time” was her sincerity toward Jang Won-jun. As a result, Jang Won-jun could not live up to Yang Eui-ji’s wishes. After Yang Eui-ji returned, he took off his uniform a year later. Doosan announced Wonjun Jang’s retirement on the 28th. Doosan’s final game of the regular season, against the Incheon SSG Landers on the 17th (4⅓ innings, 7 hits, 2 strikeouts, 3 walks, 5 runs – loss), was his last active appearance.
Although Yang Eui-ji’s wish did not come true, Jang Won-jun built a sufficiently successful career. At the time of his free agency contract, it was the highest-paid contract for a pitcher. 12 wins, 12 losses, ERA 4.08 in 30 games in 2015, 15 wins, 6 losses, 3.32 ERA in 27 games in 2016, 14 wins, 9 losses, 3.14 ERA in 29 games in 2017. It was the center of the Doosan dynasty and remained in the history books as a success story of Doosan’s external free agency.
Jang Won-Jun debuted with the Lotte Giants in 2004 and was a promising prospect who had ups and downs with his pitch for a while. However, he showed his potential in 2008, recording 12 wins, 10 losses, and an ERA of 3.53 in 26 games. Since then, it has achieved double-digit multipliers for eight consecutive years until 2017.
Although he had been wandering for a long time since 2018, Jang Won-jun tried his best to survive, including installing a two-seamer until the end of his active career. After his free agent contract ended, he continued to give up his eligibility and tried to regain his pride, and took off his uniform, satisfied with 3 wins, 5 losses, and an average ERA of 5.27 in 11 games this year.
He is No. 3 after Gwang Hyeon-jong. His 132 career wins are the 3rd most wins among left-handers, following Yang Hyun-jong (168 wins, KIA Tigers) and Kim Gwang-hyeon 스포츠토토(158 wins, SSG Landers). Even including retired pitchers, he ranks 9th in most wins. He ranks 9th with a total of 2,000 innings and ranks 4th among left-handers after Song Jin-woo (3,003 innings), Yang Hyun-jong (2,332 ⅓ innings), and Kim Gwang-hyeon (2015 ⅓ innings). In addition, he ranks 11th with a total of 1,385 strikeouts and ranks 5th among left-handers following Song Jin-woo (2,048 K), Yang Hyun-jong (1,947 K), Kim Gwang-hyun (1,728 K), and Cha Woo-chan (1,413 K).
It is safe to say that he has built a sufficiently successful career. It was a brilliant 20 years.