The SK Wyverns return to Historic Dodgertown as Korea Baseball Organization champions! The Wyverns are in Vero Beach for their Spring Training, the team’s eighth camp at Historic Dodgertown, which runs through February 24.
“All of us at Historic Dodgertown are proud to welcome back the SK Wyverns team, and we are excited they return as the KBO Champions!” said Craig Callan, Vice President at Historic Dodgertown. “For more than 70 years, Historic Dodgertown has served as a home base for many different teams as they prepare for their upcoming seasons. This year, it is our great pleasure to fly the SK Wyverns championship banner.”
The Wyverns are led by new manager Yeom Kyung Yup, who takes over this season following the departure of American-born manager Trey Hillman. Hillman, the only foreign-born manager to guide a team to the KBO title, was named the Miami Marlins infield and first base coach this past December.
The Wyverns inaugural season was in 2000. The team has reached the Korean Series Championship nine times since, with Korean Series titles in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2018. The team’s current roster includes three foreign-born players, including pitcher Angel Sanchez (Dominican Republic), right fielder/first baseman Jamie Romak (Canada), and pitcher Brock Dykxhoorn (Canada).
“I have visited Dodgertown twice during the past two years as a General Manager,” said Yeom Kyung Yup. “I want to sincerely thank the Dodgertown staff for always welcoming us and arranging everything so that the players train in a quality environment with positive mindset. Due to great support and help from Dodgertown staff, we were able to produce and maintain a good team record. After two years of positive experiences and atmosphere at Dodgertown, I expect to have another great spring camp in 2019.”
Current SK Wyverns General Manager Son Cha Hoon, who has been instrumental in arranging the Wyverns’ team training in Vero Beach said: “Historic Dodgertown is one of the farthest baseball training grounds or facilities away from home to be used by a Korean baseball team, and I believe it has the best environment to train in. The SK Wyverns have had great training camps every year at Dodgertown and we have improved each of those years with noticeable results.
“The SK Wyverns have a really positive working partnership and relationship with Dodgertown, and I hope this relationship continues for a long time. On behalf of SK Wyverns, from the first year at Dodgertown to winning a Championship last season, I sincerely thank Mr. (Peter) O’Malley, Mr. Callan, and all staff of the Dodgertown family. The Dodgertown family’s dedication and hard work helped SK Wyverns win a KBO Championship in 2018, and we will forever cherish last year’s great moments. Although we won the Championship last year, we must move forward. Changes have been made to our team to be the best in the league for the new season. SK Wyverns will be dedicated for a new beginning for 2019 season.”
Historic Dodgertown, the Spring Training home of the Dodgers from 1948 until 2008, including their six World Series Championship teams (1955, 1959, 1963, 1965, 1981 and 1988), has a history of building international goodwill with teams from Korea.
In his former position as Dodgers President, Peter O’Malley invited the professional Samsung Lions to Dodgertown for training and instruction from February 28 through 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 then-Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth and then-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 Commissioner Bowie Kuhn was also in attendance. In remembrance of this historic event, a plaque is permanently displayed on the press box wall at Holman Stadium. In 1990, two Korean coaches from the Lions visited Dodgertown for two weeks to learn training techniques. On September 9, 1990, the Dodgers were the first team in MLB history 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 with O’Malley (2012 to 2018), holds the most wins for an Asian-born major league 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.