Blue Dragon Open High School Baseball 50 Years of View

It was on June 9, 1971 when I was an elementary school student when I first learned about the 選手權 Championship (July 2 to 16), which marks the 79th anniversary this year. At that time, when a local high school advanced to the final, all the villagers gathered in front of a 19-inch black-and-white TV. When grown-ups shouted, the children were all excited and the players’ names were all ears. Gyeongbuk High School won the 26th Blue Dragon Open by beating Gyeongnam High School 1-0 on that day. Gyeongbuk High School had a monster pitcher named Nam Woo-sik. There are many stars like Kirasung in Korean baseball history, but when it comes to high school baseball, Nam Woo-sik is by far the No. 1 player. With perfect control and ability with 150-km/h fastball, Nam won all four competitions (Cheongryonggi, Golden Liongi, Presidential Bae, Bong Hwang Dae-ki) and two competitions (Hwarang Dae-gi and Ministry of Culture) in the provinces alone. This record has never been seen in the past and will not be released in the future. When the Japanese expedition was held at the end of the year, the team recorded all six games of 勝, turning Japan upside down when it was looking down on Korean baseball. How great was that record when President Yoon Suk Yeol threw the first pitch for the opening game in 2023, would he have invited four members of Gyeongbuk High School, including Nam Woo-sik, Jeong Hyun-bal, Cheon Bo-seong, and Bae Dae-woong to the ground.고소득알바

At that time, Nam Woo-sik’s shoulder was damaged after graduating from high school due to unimaginable overwork, and his skills did not show up in high school until he retired from Lotte, an unemployment team, in 1980. He was forced to turn to an office worker, and he created another miracle of rising to the CEO of a large company (Purmil) through his indomitable efforts. This year, 72-year-old Nam Woo-sik said, “Cheongryonggi is the championship with the longest history and authority, so I really wanted to win it.” In fact, Gyeongbuk High School won the Blue Dragongi for the second consecutive year in 1967 (22nd) and 1968 (23rd) thanks to the performances of Pregnancy Geun, Cho Chang-soo, and Kang Moon-gil, which means Nam Woo-sik took it again in three years.

Although MZ generation cannot imagine this, the popularity of high school baseball was crazy until 1981, just before the launch of professional baseball. Dongdaemun Stadium was filled with fever similar to the Korean Series in professional baseball every day. The spirit of 愛 and affection was ablaze. In particular, Cheongryonggi often introduced consolation matches for losers, and it was fun to make up for the shortcomings of tournaments in which they were eliminated if they lost one game.

However, the popularity of high school baseball faded when the pro baseball league was launched in 1982. Notably, the fun of high school baseball disappeared due to the introduction of the weekend league in 2011 and the restriction on the number of pitches in 2014. The venue was moved to Mokdong Baseball Stadium, but night games became difficult due to various reasons. Even though the finals were held, only school officials and parents attended. Today’s high school baseball has turned into a testing ground for professional team nominations. Until around 2000, ace pitchers used to complete complete or shut out games on a daily basis, but now weak pitchers who have not completed complete games before advance into the professional leagues. Therefore, despite the high popularity of Korean professional baseball, the gap between them and Japan is getting wider. We need to study the secret that the Koshien 園, a Japanese high school baseball, continues to enjoy as much popularity as a professional baseball.

(From left) Nam Woo-sik of Gyeongbuk High School, who won in 1971, and Bang Woo-young, then president of Chosun Ilbo, hands over the blue dragon flag to Choi Dong-won of Gyeongnam High School, Yang Sang-moon of Busan High School, who won in 1978

Still, there are many memorable players and games as I have watched the Blue Dragon Open for more than 50 years. In 1973 (28th), Bae Jae-gook and Lee Kwang-eun pitched legendary pitching. When ace Ha Ki-ryong came down the mound after a school record violation dispute arose while fighting hard for Gwangju Sang High School on June 14, Lee went up and won the remaining three innings. He pitched well without losing a point in nine innings at Daegun High School on June 15, but pitched three more innings at a suspending game held on the morning of June 16, combining a total of 12 innings of shutout wins. Lee’s “Strange” did not end there. In the match against Chung-Ang High School in the winner’s quarterfinal immediately held in the afternoon, Lee held on to a scoreless 13th inning, but lost 0-0 and lost 0-4 when he gave up four runs in the 20th inning. On the same day, Lee pulled off a 1-0 victory by throwing nine innings of complete pitching in the final against Daegun High School and the loser quarterfinal match. In the loser quarterfinal match against Gunsan Sang High School on June 18, Lee gave up only two runs during the 15th inning but suffered a complete defeat. In five games over the past five days, Lee pitched 697 pitches against 223 batters in 59 innings and gave up seven runs on 32 hits. The ERA is 1.07. Lee Kwang-eun has been nicknamed the “rubber arm pitcher” and has become the most valuable protagonist of the game in the history of Cheongryonggi. This is a scene that professional baseball managers want to see these days when they replace pitchers with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning even though the pitcher is in the process of being shut out.

In 1976, Choi Dong-won of Kyungnam High School performed a one-man show. He recorded four complete games, and two of them were shutouts. Notably, he recorded 20 strikeouts in the final match between Gunsan High School and the winner, setting a record for the most strikeouts in a single game. After facing Gunsan High School again, Choi struck out 12 and gave up only two hits to win the game 5-0. “Choi threw a ball that he had never seen before, and the curve was like a waterfall falling from the sky,” said Kim Sung-han, who later served as manager Haitai as a second grader at Gunsan High School.

The next year, in 1977, the 32nd edition of Daegu Sango was known as the “Hulk” catcher Lee Man-soo. He had a reputation as a big guns early on, as he hit his first home run in the Blue Dragon Open in his freshman year in 1975. Daegu Sango went down to the loser’s game, as it lost to Dongsan High School 1-2 in the winner’s quarterfinal. In the loser’s final, it defeated Gwangju Jeil High School 11-3 to advance to the final. It won the first game 3-1 against Dongsan High School, which wins if one wins while waiting at the top, and crushed the second game 7-2, which is the final game.

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