Park Byung-ho sets RBI record in KBO

October 2, 2015
Park Byung-ho, first baseman of the Nexen Heroes (Yonhap)

Park Byung-ho, first baseman of the Nexen Heroes (Yonhap)

SEOUL (Yonhap) – MVP candidate Park Byung-ho set an RBI record on Friday the same night Eric Thames became the first player to swipe 40 bags and hit 40 home runs in a single KBO season.

In the nation’s capital, Park, the slugging first baseman for the Nexen Heroes, hit a three-run home run against the Lotte Giants to reach 146 RBIs for a season, two better than the previous single-season record of 144, set by Lee Seung-yuop of the Samsung Lions in 2003.

The home run, off Bae Jang-ho in the fifth, was Park’s 53rd of the season, one better than his career-high set last season. Lee holds the all-time KBO mark with 56, also in 2003.

The Heroes went on to beat the Giants 10-6, as Park went 2-for-3 with three RBIs, two runs scored and a walk.

Lee drove in 144 runs in 131 games in 2003. The KBO expanded to 144 games this season, and Park was playing in his 139th game of the season. The Heroes will play the final game of their season Saturday.

Park, the MVP in 2012 and 2013 before finishing second in the voting in 2014, will give Thames a run for his money with yet another strong season. He padded his league lead in home runs and RBIs Friday and now has 53 jacks and 146 RBIs. He’s also among the league leaders in batting average, runs scored, hits, slugging percentage and on-base percentage.

Park, 29, is eligible to be posted for major league clubs this offseason, and scouts from more than a dozen big league teams have watched him in action this year.

He will look to follow in the footsteps of his former Nexen teammate Kang Jung-ho, who signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates via posting last offseason to become the first South Korean position player to jump from the KBO to MLB.