Chan Ho Park to retire from baseball

11/29/2012 6:40 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro
Chan Ho Park, the first Korean player to play Major League Baseball, has decided to retire from professional baseball on Friday, according to multiple reports out of South Korea.

On Thursday, the Yonhap News Agency among others reported that an official with Korea Professional Baseball’s Hanwha Eagles, who Park played with in 2012, told the media that the 39-year-old righty "delivered a letter to the club (Thursday) afternoon stating his intention to retire" and said the club would “respect the decision."

According to the same official, Park has called a press conference for 11 a.m. Friday morning in Seoul (9 p.m. ET in New York) to publicly announce his retirement.

Park came to America in 1994, signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He played for seven teams in his 17-year career, going 124-98 with a 4.36 ERA overall, and through 2012, his win total is the highest in Major League history for an Asian-born pitcher.

Park played for the Yankees in 2010, going 2-1 with a 5.60 ERA in 27 relief appearances before being waived on July 31; he was claimed by Pittsburgh, and finished his MLB career by going 2-2 with a 3.49 ERA in 26 games for the Pirates.

Park went to Japan for the 2011 season, pitching for the Orix Buffaloes of Nippon Professional Baseball’s Pacific League, but injuries limited him to just seven games and he finished 1-5 with a 4.29 ERA.

He moved back to his native Korea in 2012, but despite his incredible popularity filling stadiums for Eagles games throughout the league, his success was again limited on the field; Hanwha finished in last place in KPB, and Park was just 5-10 with a 5.06 ERA.

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