Protected team’s win over Gocheok Lotte on the 19th and made his 20th save of the season in six years
By Dae-ho Lee, Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) Reporter = Lim Chang-min (36, Kiwoom Heroes), who is burning the candle at the end of his career with his hometown team, made a significant milestone against his hometown Lotte Giants on Sept. 19.
He entered the game in the ninth inning and retired the first three batters he faced to preserve his team’s 5-2 victory and earn his 20th save.
After being released by the Doosan Bears last season and donning a Kiwoom uniform this season, Lim started the year as a bullpen arm and is now a primary fireman who locks the team’s back door.
This is the first time in six years that Im has recorded more than 20 saves in a season since 2017 (29 saves).
After the game, Lim said, “I want to praise myself for holding on until I reached 20 saves. The team is in a difficult situation, and even when I was shaky, the team believed in me, so I was able to maintain my performance.”
On reaching 20 saves again after six years, he said, “I was young then, and I felt like I did something on my own. Now I have a lot of support around me. They take the pressure off the bench, and the juniors help me, so we have a synergy.”
While Lim has had a successful season for himself, the same cannot be said for the team.
Kiwoom has been riddled with injuries, and when Lee Jung-hoo was injured, they traded away domestic ace Choi Won-tae, effectively pressing the rebuild button.
The team’s form has been so poor that their two-game winning streak against Lotte was their first since August.
Lim told the juniors, “The experience of losing is also very important. If you overcome the difficult times well, you will come back explosively later. I want to tell them not to forget how they feel right now.”
Lim had a similar experience with his former team, NC.
After finishing at the bottom of the league in 2018, the team won its first Korean Series title in 2020, just two years after its founding.
His experience is valuable for Kiwoom, which needs to rebuild and move up as quickly as possible.
“I tell my juniors, ‘Let’s endure a little bit of time now, develop ourselves, and try not to have this experience (of finishing last) again,'” he said.
For Lim, Kiwoom is a family team.
He was drafted in the second round by the Hyundai Unicorns in 2008 and made his first-team debut with the Heroes in 2009.
He played until 2012, when he was traded to the NC Dinos and became one of the league’s top bullpen arms.스포츠토토
“It’s a very comfortable team. I know a lot of people. I often think about what it would be like to be on this team when I was younger,” he smiled.
Lim’s hopes for the rest of the season are focused on the team, not the individual.
“Our bullpen has been struggling since the middle of the season. Like dominoes, it’s a difficult time for everyone psychologically. If we can turn it around, I’m looking forward to it because we have a lot of players with enough qualities.”