Hyun-Jin Ryu was born on March 25th of 1987 in Incheon, South Korea. Incheon Songhan High School, was the school Ryu attented. At the young age of 17 years old, Ryu underwent Tommy John Surgery, pitcher’s worse nightmare or dream come true, while in high school. He did not pitch at all in 2004. In 2005, the year after his big procedure, he led his high school to the Blue Dragon Open National High School Championship. Not only was he the ace on the team, but with a batting average of .389 in the national tournament, he was also the Blue Dragon’s big bat in the lineup. Oh yeah one more big point, he threw 22 consecutive scoreless inning. Yeah, pretty damn impressive!
That same year the South Korea junior national team chose Ryu to play for them. They finished as the runner-up in the Asian Junior Baseball Championship. The tournament was held in Seoul, South Korea. His stats in the tournament were outstanding pitching 8 1/3 innings allowing only 1 ER and 5 hits in the three games he pitches and striking out 14 batters! He had one start in the three games.
With the first pick in the second round, the Hanwha Eagles selected Ryu in the 2006 KBO (Korean Baseball Organization) draft. Ryu was still a kid at age 18 playing professional baseball in Korea. He made his KBO debut with the Eagles April 12, 2006. Hyun-Jin finished his rookie campaign with a 18-6 record. Holding a strong 2.23 ERA with a total of 205 strikeouts in 201.2 innings pitched. He also won the pitching Triple Crown that year. No surprise there.
Ryu competed in the 2008 Beijings Olympics with the South Korea National baseball team. Ryu shined as he led South Korea to the gold medal beating Cuba to win it all. In the gold medal game, Ryu hurled 8 1/3 innings only allowing 2 ER. The very next year, the World Baseball Classic came around and Los Angeles was hosting it (Go Dodgers). South Korea finished as a runner-up. Ryu had a huge supporting cast of Korean and Ryu fans cheering him on the entire time.
Ryu’s Korean Baseball Organization came to an end in 2012. Next stop: United States. Hyun-Jin longed to played profession baseball in the United States. Scouts were all over him. December 9th, 2012 the Los Angeles Dodgers signed the Korean phenom Hyun-Jin Ryu to a 6 year deal worth $36 million. On April 2nd, 2013 he made his MLB debut up north against the rival San Francisco Giants. Allowing 10 hits on only 1 ER, he last 6 1/3 innings. He received his first regular his next outing on April 7th against the Pirates. Ryu earned his first ML win on March 17, 2013 in Spring Training on St. Patrick’s Day.
On October 6th, 2013 Hyun-Jin Ryu was the first South Korean baseball player to play as a starting pitcher in a Major League postseason game. Ryu continues to excel as a well-developed pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ryu finished this season 14-7 with a 3.38 ERA. He is the Dodgers #3 pitcher behind former Cy Young Zack Greinke. Someday Ryu could possible earn a Cy Young award of his own.
Funny and Interesting fact… In case you do not know this, Ryu is a very popular pop star singer in Korea. Here’s a video, enjoy: