Bae, Choi make Korean baseball history with an MLB first

April 12th, 2023

PITTSBURGH -- When Ji Hwan Bae launched a walk-off, three-run home run into the Pittsburgh night, giving the Pirates a 7-4 win over the defending champion Astros, he not only delivered his team’s first statement win of the season -- he made history, too.

On Tuesday, Bae and Ji Man Choi became the first pair of South Korean teammates to homer in the same game, but following the thrilling victory, Choi wasn’t in the mood to hand out praise.

“I feel very bad because I didn’t get the spotlight,” Choi said with a laugh through team interpreter Daniel Park. “He took it.”

“All jokes aside, I feel very happy for him, and I knew he was going to do it for us.”

Before Bae homered off Ryan Pressly in the bottom of the ninth, Choi cleared the right-field bleachers with a solo shot in the sixth inning, his second home run in as many days.

A week ago exactly, Bae hit the first home run of his Major League career at Fenway Park, an opposite-field shot that cleared the Green Monster. Bae, who only has 16 career Minor League home runs to his name, joked that there might be more home runs in store. 

“These kind of ballparks are only what I used to see in the games when I was younger,” Bae said.