The SK Wyverns faded into history after the 2020 season. It’s been three years since SSG took over the franchise. The ‘Wyverns colors’ are also fading.
There’s no longer an SK in the KBO, but the “SK Spirit” is alive and well. The main players who led SK’s golden era, starting with the 2007 championship, are expanding their activities as coaches.
On March 3, members of the Wyverns legend gathered at a restaurant in Seoul for their annual winter reunion with then-manager Kim Sung-geun of the JTBC Monsters.
Fifteen people gathered, including LG General Coordinator Kim Jae-hyun, who couldn’t make it due to a business trip to the United States. Former SK manager Kim Won-hyung, who remained with the SSG until this year, was joined by active coaches such as LG hitting coaches Lee Ho-joon and Mo Chang-min, Samsung Futures manager Chung Dae-hyun, Hanwha head coach Chung Kyung-bae, Hanwha defense coach Park Jae-sang, Kiwoom bullpen coach Lee Seung-ho, and KT first base coach Park Jung-hwan, as well as familiar faces such as Park Jung-kwon and Chae Byung-yong, who left the SSG this offseason.
Legends such as Jeong Geun-woo, who plays for the Monsters under Kim Sung-geun, and Yoon Gil-hyun, who has his own business such as a baseball academy, also had a warm time reviving memories.
According to those who attended the event, despite the warm atmosphere, Kim emphasized to his protégés, who are forming a group of Korean baseball leaders, that they should not settle for the results in front of them, but should continue to study.
Kim spoke to reporters on the 4th and shared some of his thoughts. “I told them to study,” he said, thanking them for organizing the event every year. Looking back, Kim Sung-geun was always the one who lacked the most, so I also studied all year long this year, and I told them that changes came out of it.”
Most of the disciples are all over the place. They are in a position to become complacent. “One of the things he said was, ‘Let’s all keep in mind,'” Kim says, “that even if you die and wake up, don’t think, ‘I know it all. I told them to look at what didn’t go well first.”
Experience is what Kim is looking for in his protégés, many of whom he worked with at SK. During their three Korean Series titles and one runner-up finish from 2007 to 2010, SK dominated the league with a unique brand of baseball. Rather than relying on a few star players, the entire squad worked in unison to put pressure on opponents. It was a time when speed in defense and on the basepaths was at its peak, a trait that carried over to the national team, which was performing at the international level at the time.
“I think the things we did back then (such as training experiences) are in our heads, and I told them, ‘I think you guys have things that other teams don’t have, and I want you to take advantage of that and study more,'” Kim said.