There are some guys whose movements I’ll always track no matter how far away they get from major league baseball. Jose Canseco. Jose Lima before he died (and don’t think I won’t post more stuff about him eventually). Another one is Byung-Hyun Kim, who has fascinated me for years. NPB Tracker reports that he has signed a deal with the Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Japanese Pacific League.
Why do I care about Kim? I don’t know. Probably because of those home runs he gave up in the 2001 World Series to Paul O’Neill and Tino Martinez. At the time I was really glad that the Diamondbacks came back and won it because it would have been devastating for the guy if he was made the goat. But as it has happened, he has still been a big enough punchline as a result of it. Unlike the Bill Buckners of the world, however, he hasn’t gotten the sympathetic reassessment that truly infamous goats often get. Probably doesn’t help that, unlike Buckner, Kim wasn’t an outstanding player for many years. The fact that he’s Korean is likely another factor.
He’s a curiosity to me I suppose, as are all people who are identified so strongly by dubious achievements.