KT Wiz’s “Rookie Draft Tradition,” a program that gives rookies a sense of pride and responsibility, is in its sixth year.
KT used the seventh overall pick in the 2024 KBO Rookie Draft, held on Thursday at the Westin Chosun Hotel Grand Ballroom in Jung-gu, Seoul, to select Won Sang-hyun (19-Busan) and Yuk Cheong-myeong (18-Gangneung) side-by-side in the first and second rounds.
Immediately after the draft, Won and Yuk signed balls emblazoned with the team’s logo on the sidelines of the event, completing their first autographed balls since being drafted. In addition to the autographs, the players also wrote messages to their parents to express their gratitude for the opportunity.
This is a familiar sight for KT fans. In 2018, KT held the event for the sixth year since the rookie draft, and the club said, “We want to express our gratitude to our parents, who have been by our side and supported us the most until we became professional athletes, and we hope that we will not forget our families, ‘beginnings’, and ‘aspirations’ when we are drafted as professional athletes. In addition, to celebrate the players’ nomination and enhance their sense of belonging to the club, we engraved ‘ROOKIE’ on their jerseys to enhance the excitement, joy, and professionalism of their nomination,” he explained.
The families of the drafted players also receive a special gift. The players’ family photos were taken on-site and framed at the induction ceremony at Wiz Park in October, along with their caps.
Won Sang-hyun’s mother, Kim Hye-sun, said, “I’m proud of him for not giving up and doing well. Now that he’s a professional athlete, I hope he’ll take good care of his body and manage his injuries.” “Now that he’s at the club he wanted, I’m sure he’ll be a pitcher who represents the league like the determination he wrote on the ball. I will support him hard behind the scenes. Thank you to the club for giving me such meaningful memories,” he said sincerely.
Yuk’s mother, Jeon Soon-young, said, “I’m glad he was named a pro and I’m very grateful to him. After her rehabilitation, I was heartbroken because she had a hard time, but I think she endured it with sincerity, so I’m grateful. She gave me my first autographed ball and told me that she would make her own money now, and I cried because she was like a child, but she was so cute and happy.” Yuk Cheong-myung’s older brother, Yuk Cheong-ho, said, “I’m glad I went to KT, which is a regular baseball team in the fall. I also dreamed of becoming a baseball player, and I’m grateful that my brother fulfilled it for me.”
The program had the effect of increasing the players’ sense of belonging and responsibility. Won Sang-hyun said, “I’m glad I was selected because the team took special care of me since the tournament, and I wanted to join the team the most. There are seniors in the team like Choi Soon-joon and Park Young-hyun who have good pitches and similar pitching styles, so I want to ask them a lot. Especially, I’ve heard a lot of people say that (Park) Young-hyun looks like my brother.”
“At the first autographed ball presentation event organized by the club, I was able to share my heart with my mother. It made me feel very emotional, but I will try to remember this feeling and keep my resolve in my professional life.”메이저놀이터
Yuk Cheong-myung also said, “I was really emotional when I presented my first autographed ball to my parents. This traditional event really made me realize that I’m in a professional team. I feel even more responsible for being selected earlier than I thought. I’ve been going to the stadium since I was a kid, so it’s strange to be a part of it. I will take pride in being a part of this prestigious organization.”