South Korean baseball team to return to Historic Dodgertown for spring training

NEWS RELEASE

For the seventh year, the Wyverns have selected Historic Dodgertown to hold their Spring Training in preparation for their regular season in the professional Korean Baseball Organization. The camp is open and runs through Feb. 21.

Manager Trey Hillman returns for his second season as head coach and brings extensive professional experience to the helm.

“I look forward to bringing the SK Wyverns team back to Historic Dodgertown in 2018,” said Trey Hillman. “The campus provides an optimal experience for us to prepare for the upcoming season because everything is on-site and within walking distance — from the fields and stadium, batting cages, training and weight rooms, hotel and dining. Historic Dodgertown’s rich history is seen and felt at every turn, and it is in that spirit of building a championship team that we are honored to return this year.”

The SK Wyverns’ 2018 roster includes five foreign-born players and staff – Pitchers Merrill Kelly (USA) and Angel Sanchez (Dominican Republic), infielder Jamie Romak (Canada), manager Hillman (USA), and coach Lyle Yates (USA).

Hillman’s previous managerial experience was with the Kansas City Royals (2008-2010), and the Japanese Professional Baseball Pacific League Nippon Ham Fighters (2003-2007). Hillman also coached for the Los Angeles Dodgers (2010-2013) and Houston Astros (2014-2016). He also managed in the Minor Leagues for 12 seasons. His first trip to Dodgertown was in 1996 as the manager for the Florida State League Tampa Yankees, which finished in first place that year.

The SK Wyverns inaugural season was in 2000. The team has reached the Korean Series Championship eight times since its initial season. In 2007, 2008 and 2010 they were the Korean Series champions.

Historic Dodgertown Chairman Peter O’Malley has developed friendly relations for decades with South Korea. He invited the professional Samsung Lions to Dodgertown for training and instruction from February 28-March 14, 1985. They became the first Korean team to train in the United States.

On March 9, 1985, the Lions played the Dodgers in an exhibition game at Dodgertown, as Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth and the Commissioner of Baseball in South Korea General Jyong-Chul Suh were guests of O’Malley and participated in first pitch ceremonies. In addition, former Major League Baseball (MLB) Commissioner Bowie Kuhn was also in attendance. In remembrance of this historic event, a plaque is on the wall on the far side of the press box at Holman Stadium. In 1990, two Korean coaches from the Lions visited Dodgertown for two weeks to learn training techniques. On Sept. 9, 1990, the O’Malley Dodgers were the first team in MLB to have a regular season game broadcast in Korean. The entire Lions team would return for Spring Training at Dodgertown in 1992, 1993, 1995 and 1997.

In 1994, O’Malley signed the first player in Korean history to a major league contract, pitcher Chan Ho Park. That historic event opened the door for other Korean players to play in the major leagues.

Park, a founding partner of Historic Dodgertown, holds the most wins for an Asian-born MLB pitcher with 124 wins. His first time pitching in a Dodger uniform was February 19, 1994 during Spring Training at Dodgertown. In 1996, Hanyang University became the first university from South Korea to train at Dodgertown. Park attended Hanyang University.

To learn more about the SK Wyverns, please visit www.SKWyverns.com

For more information about Historic Dodgertown please visit www.HistoricDodgertown.com.

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