The LG Twins have won the 2023 World Series and are now a true powerhouse. It was a team effort between the manager, players, and front office, but LG President Cha Myung-seok (54) deserves a lot of credit.
LG swept the KT Wiz 6-2 in Game 5 of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO Postseason Korean Series at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on Wednesday to win the series 4-1.
It had been 29 years since LG had won a Korean Series title since 1994. LG acquired the original Korean Baseball Organization, MBC Cheongryong, and rebranded it as the LG Twins in 1990. After winning the title in its first year, LG won its second title in 1994. And this season, they finally won their third consecutive title.
LG didn’t become a powerhouse all at once. After finishing as runners-up in the 2002 Korean Series, the team went through a dark period, not being invited to fall baseball for 10 consecutive years. They made the playoffs in 2013, 2014, and 2016, but not consistently. The team’s performance has been erratic, dropping to sixth place in 2017 and eighth place in 2018.
Soon after LG finished the 2018 season, they hired commentator Cha Myung-seok as head coach. Cha joined LG in 1992 and was a member of the team that won the 1994 championship. He remained an active player until 2001, appearing in 365 games over 10 seasons, compiling an all-around record of 38 wins, 37 losses, 19 saves, 11 holds and a 4.02 ERA.
He then turned to coaching, serving as pitching coach, bullpen coach, and head coach at LG before joining KT in 2016 as the head coach of the developmental team. In 2017, he took to the microphone as a baseball commentator. At the time of his appointment, Cha said, “As a former player and coach of the LG Twins, I will do my best to create results through smooth communication with the players and lay the foundation to become a prestigious organization in the long term.” And Cha has delivered on that promise.굿모닝토토
Since Cha’s arrival in 2019, LG has consistently reached the postseason. This is the fifth consecutive year of fall baseball success. After jumping to fourth place in the 2019 season with a record of 79 wins, 64 losses, and one tie (based on the regular season standings below), the team finished fourth again in 2020 with 79 wins, 61 losses, and four ties. In 2021, the team finished third, 1.5 games behind the pennant race co-leaders (KT-Samsung), and in 2022, the team finished second in the league with 87 wins, 55 losses, and two draws. This season, they finally finished atop the regular season standings with 86 wins, 56 losses, and two ties. After advancing directly to the Korean Series, LG’s success was crowned with the overall title. When the team won the Korean Series, Cha burst into tears.
Cha was a hard-working manager and a baseball person who connected with fans. With a “trade door always open” attitude, Cha made bold trades to improve the team’s strength. In March 2021, he traded with the Doosan Bears to acquire Ham Deok-ju. Ham has been an integral part of LG’s lineup this season.
Cha was also recognized for his ability to negotiate reasonable contracts for players without overpaying them. This earned him the nickname ‘The Negotiator’. After the 2021 season, Cha signed Park Hae-min to a four-year, $6 billion contract, and after the end of last season, he quickly signed Park Dong-won to a four-year, $6.5 billion contract to fill the void left by Yoo Kang-nam. In January, the team signed franchise star Oh Ji-hwan to a six-year, $12.4 billion contract, the first multi-year contract for a non-free agent. Oh has been irreplaceable, earning MVP honors in the Korean Series.
Above all, Cha genuinely communicated with the fans, which is why they called him the “communication king. Cha answered fans’ questions in real time through the team’s official social media channels, sometimes even listening to fans who were upset about their performance and trying to calm them down. A former KBO manager said, “It’s not easy to be a manager and communicate directly with fans like that. I can’t help but think very highly of him.” Cha was a member of the 1994 championship team that won the Korean Series, and this time, he lifted the trophy as manager. LG fans have always applauded Cha’s efforts.