Lee Dae-ho (41) visited the SoftBank Hawks home field for the first time in eight years.
The most welcoming former teammate was Japanese batting great Yuki Yanagita (35-SoftBank).
Lee played for SoftBank in 2014 and 2015, helping the team to back-to-back integrated championships. In 2014, he played in 144 games, batting .300 with 19 home runs, 68 RBIs, and an OPS of .816. In 2015, he batted .282 with 31 homers, 98 RBIs and an OPS of 0.892 in 141 games. In particular, Lee batted .500 with two homers and eight RBIs in the 2015 Japan Series, earning MVP honors.
Dae-ho Lee will be appearing in front of Japanese fans for the first time in 28 years. He will be attending a SoftBank club event before the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) SoftBank-Chiba Lotte Marines game. Before the game, Lee will throw out the ceremonial first pitch to commemorate SoftBank’s 85th anniversary.
Dae-ho Lee visited SoftBank’s home stadium, the PayPay Dome in Fukuoka, a day before the team event. Before the SoftBank-Chiba Lotte game, Lee was reunited with some familiar faces. He chatted with former SoftBank manager Koji Akiyama, who coached him in his first year with the team, and SoftBank hitting coach Yuya Hasegawa, a former teammate of Lee’s.
Dae-ho Lee and his former 메이저놀이터 championship-winning teammates still take the field in SoftBank uniforms. Yanagita, Akira Nakamura, and others, now veterans of the team, shook his hand to welcome him to the team. Dae-ho Lee was all smiles and words of encouragement.
It was the conversation between Lee and Yanagita that caught the attention. Yanakita is SoftBank’s “One Club Man” and signature star, having hit 20 home runs for three consecutive years and tripled seven times. During Lee’s All-Star Game retirement tour last year, Yanakita sent him a congratulatory video.
Yanakita is also widely recognized as a role model for Kiwoom Heroes’ Lee Jung-hoo. Recently, Lotte Giants prospect Kim Min-seok revealed that he watched a lot of Yanakita’s videos.
Lee Dae-ho asked Yanagita about his long hair, “How do you grow your hair?” to which Yanagita replied, “Korean style,” and laughed. Lee and Yanagita chatted for a while and had a great time.