The Softbank Hawks welcomed Lee Dae-ho, the ‘4th hitter of Joseon’. Lee Dae-ho, who started the ‘Ceremonial Pitch (first pitch)’, struck, and Softbank fans applauded enthusiastically.
Lee Dae-ho held a ‘ceremonial pitch’메이저놀이터 prior to the 2023 Japan Professional Baseball Softbank Hawks versus Chiba Lotte Marines held at the PayPay Dome in Fukuoka, Fukuoka, Japan on the 28th.
Softbank invited Lee Dae-ho to celebrate the club’s 85th anniversary and the 30th anniversary of the PayPay Dome. Lee Dae-ho transferred from Orix Buffaloes to Softbank after the 2013 season and played for two seasons. Lee Dae-ho recorded 170 hits, 19 homers, and a batting average of 0.300 in 144 games in his first year at Softbank. In particular, in 2015, he played an active role in the Japan Series with 8 hits in 16 at-bats, 2 home runs and 8 RBIs in 5 games, and even won the Japan Series MVP title for the first time as a Korean player.
At the invitation of Softbank, Lee Dae-ho visited Fukuoka for the first time in 8 years. Lee Dae-ho, who arrived in Fukuoka on the 26th, directly watched the match between Softbank and Chiba Lotte from the stands on the 27th. Yuya met with the 1st team hitting coach. And on the 28th, he had a meeting with Oh Sadaharu (Wang Jeong-chi), president of Softbank.
Softbank truly ‘welcome’ Lee Dae-ho’s visit. Softbank produced a special video using ‘Duck Fly’, which Lee Dae-ho had used as an appearance song since his KBO League days, and welcomed Lee Dae-ho’s visit to the PayPay Dome by even adding a slogan, ‘Dae~ho’, before he entered the batter’s box. Fans who filled the PayPay Dome applauded Lee Dae-ho’s appearance.
This was not the only thing Softbank prepared. Akira Nakamura, who debuted in 2011 and recorded 1293 hits, 478 RBIs, 564 batting average, 0.280 OPS and 0.734 in 1320 games, is known as ‘Shippo’ and ‘Roll Model’ of Lee Jung-hoo, and is a ‘signboard’ representing Nippon Professional Baseball and Softbank. Hitter’ Yanagita Yuki started ‘Shita’.
After a short interview, including greeting Japanese fans on the ground, Lee Dae-ho stood on the mound. And he showed off his skills, which made his name as a ‘pitcher’ in his high school days. Lee Dae-ho put in a strike, and the fans responded with warm applause. Afterwards, Lee Dae-ho took a commemorative photo with Nakamura and Yanagita and finished all the schedules.
After pitching the first pitch, Lee Dae-ho said, “I am so grateful to have been invited to such a great event, and it was nice to be able to pitch the pitch. I only have memories of having fun at Softbank for the past two years. The first year was a bit difficult until the end, but both times It’s because I won the championship. I learned a lot about baseball over the past two years thanks to good players and front desk staff, etc. Kai (Takuya), Yanagita (Yuki), The players I was with when I was younger, such as Nakamura (Akira), have become seniors. It was really nice to see him lead the team well,” she said with a broad smile.