The former capital city of Daegu hosts a special baseball tournament every year, one of the only ones in the country that started a year before the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO). It’s the Daegu Baseball Players’ Memorial Elementary School Baseball Tournament, organized by the Daegu Baseball Players’ Association (Chairman Kim Jum-moon).
The ‘KSM Sports Ship and Senior Memorial Yeongnam District Elementary School Invitational Baseball Tournament’, now in its 43rd year, will be held at the Gangbyeon Little Baseball Field in Seobyeon-dong, Buk-gu, Daegu, with a total of eight elementary schools from Daegu, Busan, and Ulsan participating for three days from April 24 to 26.
Five schools from Daegu, including Chilsung, Oksan, Bonri, Namdo, and Yulha Elementary Schools, two schools from Busan, including Dongjungang and Gamcheon Elementary Schools, and Daehyeon Elementary School from Ulsan, will participate in the tournament to determine the winning team. The quarterfinals will be held on the 24th, followed by the semifinals on the 25th at 10am, and the final on the 26th at 4:30pm.
It’s just like any other little league baseball tournament, but this one in Daegu has a special meaning. This is because the tournament is organized to memorialize the senior baseball players who contributed to the development of baseball in Daegu and to give younger baseball players a glimpse of the passion and dedication of the senior baseball players who contributed to the development of local baseball.
However, the tournament did not start out as a tribute to the elderly baseball players. In the late 1970s, a group of elderly baseball players, field leaders, and some schoolchildren came together to organize the first tournament in 1981. At the time, it was an elementary school baseball tournament during the baseball comradeship period.
However, as the seniors passed away one by one and the field leaders retired from active service, the tournament was renamed the Baseball Senior Memorial Tournament in 2017 to make it more meaningful. Since then, the tournament has become a tournament that presents a different experience to young elementary school players by playing after a moment of silence for senior baseball players in every game.
In fact, Daegu baseball has been the birthplace of stars from all over the country. Gyeongbuk High School, Daegu Commercial High School (now Sangwon High School), and Daegu High School were centered in the city. The star players of the early days of professional baseball were Lee Mansu, Kim Si-jin, Lee Sun-hee, Kwon Young-ho, Chun Bosung, and Bae Dae-woong.
Despite the different fame behind these star players, the efforts of coaches Park Chun-duk, Kim Gil-woong, Seo Young-moo, Park Chang-yong, Go Byeong-woo, Kim Sung-hoon, Ahn Jong-tae, Jung Chun-hak, Park Tae-sik, Kim Chung-young, and Kang Tae-jung cannot be ignored.
Not only that. Doosan Bears head coach Lee Seung-yeop, commentator Yang Jun-hyuk, Hangzhou Asian Games head coach Ryu Joong-il, and many other star players such as Bae Young-soo (Lotte Giants), Lee Bum-ho (KIA Tigers), Kim Kang-min (SSG Landers), Lee Jae-hak (NC Dinos), Park Se-woong (Lotte Giants), Gu Jaguk (Samsung Lions), and Won Tae-in (Samsung Lions) have had their dreams nurtured and produced through this tournament. 메이저놀이터
Currently, the Daegu Baseball Club has more than 40 active members. The coaches of 12 elementary, middle, and high schools in Daegu, as well as the coaches of four universities – Yeungnam University, Kyungmyeong University, Suseong University, and Kyungil University – and the umpires of the Daegu Baseball Association are all members. As such, the umpires are all volunteers.
“The memorial tournament is especially meaningful because it is held in June, the month of Korean Veterans’ Month,” said Kim Jum-moon (69), chairman of the Baseball Comrades Association. “Although it is a short three-day tournament, we hope that the tournament will help aspiring baseball players to recognize and understand the tradition and history of Daegu baseball, not just as a game, but as a place of education for the whole person.”
“I can’t leave out the contributions of advisors Lee Jung-woong and Woo Yong-duk, as well as Daegu Baseball and Softball Association Chairman Lee Jae-hyuk, to make this tournament a success,” Kim said, “and if there is an opportunity in the future, I would like to develop it into a tournament that covers the entire region.”
In particular, Chairman Kim repeatedly expressed his gratitude, saying, “No words can express my gratitude to KSM Sports CEO Kim Kyung-rok, who is not a baseball player and is more than a baseball player, but has a deep affection for Daegu baseball and provides goods and money worth 20 million won every year.”
KSM Sports CEO Kim Kyung-rok runs a company specializing in baseball products in the Philippines with more than 400 employees. The company’s main products are various gloves, which are mostly exported to the United States.
Kim Kyung-rok, who entered Youngnam University and played baseball in the baseball club Dynamite and has been working in the baseball business since then, said, “Although I am not in the mainstream of professional baseball, I have been running a baseball-related company with the help of many seniors and juniors.” “It is a tremendous honor to be able to contribute to Daegu baseball in a small way,” he said.
The ’43rd KSM Sports Ship and Senior Memorial Yeongnam District Elementary School Invitational Baseball Tournament’ is a combination of a baseball club that commemorates the senior baseball players who created the foundation of Daegu baseball and went first, and the strong sponsorship of KSM Sports, which shares the will of the juniors, leaving a deep impression for a long time.