The SK Wyverns of the professional Korea Baseball Organization, a team which has held spring training at Historic Dodgertown for seven seasons, claimed the South Korean baseball championship today, its first championship since 2010.
Led by manager Trey Hillman, the Wyverns defeated the Doosan Bears 5-2 in 13 innings on Doosan’s home field. The Wyverns, who won the best-of-seven series in six games, were considered the underdogs. During the regular season, the team finished second in their division, 14.5 games behind the Bears.
All of us at Historic Dodgertown send our sincere congratulations to Trey, the team and the entire SK Wyverns organization for winning the 2018 Korean Series,” said Craig Callan, Vice President of Historic Dodgertown. “The SK Wyverns now join many teams who started their championship seasons here at Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach. We look forward to welcoming our friends from the SK Wyverns back in late January through the end of February for their 2019 spring training season.”
Hillman is the first American manager to have won the South Korean championship, and the only manager to win professional championships in South Korea and in Japan. In 2006 he guided the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters to the Japan Series title.
Said Hillman earlier this year when his team opened training camp at Historic Dodgertown: “I look forward to bringing the SK Wyverns team back to Historic Dodgertown in 2018. 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 inaugural season was in 2000. The team has reached the Korean Series Championship eight times since its initial season. In 2007, 2008, 2010 and again this year they earned the Korean Series title.
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 South 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 South 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 South Korean history to a major league contract, pitcher Chan Ho Park. That historic event opened the door for an additional 20 South 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.
Historic Dodgertown, the Spring Training home of the Dodgers from 1948-2008, was the home base for the Dodger World Championship teams in 1955, 1959, 1963, 1965, 1981 and 1988.
Historic Dodgertown has long welcomed international teams for the games and training. Currently the Chinese Women’s National Softball and Men’s National Baseball teams are utilizing Historic Dodgertown to prepare for their upcoming seasons and international competition. Their long-term goal is to compete in the 2020 Olympic Games.
To learn more about the SK Wyverns, please visit www.SKWyverns.com
For more information about Historic Dodgertown please visit www.HistoricDodgertown.com.