Press Release World Baseball Softball Confederation
The World Baseball Softball Confederation and the Korea Baseball Organization announced that South Korean baseball legend Chan-ho Park will serve as an official Global Ambassador of the 2015 WBSC Premier12™, which is being launched this November (8-21) in Japan and Taiwan.
The WBSC Premier12 is the top international baseball tournament on the 2015 calendar, distributing the top purse and largest sum of world ranking points.
Park was the first Major League Baseball (MLB) player in history from South Korea, making his debut as a pitcher with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1994. Prior to retiring in 2012, the international baseball pioneer had also competed in the top leagues in Japan and South Korea, Nippon Professional Baseball and KBO, respectively.
As a member of the South Korean National Baseball Team, Park helped his country capture the gold medal at the 1998 Asian Games in Bangkok, Thailand, while also earning two silver medals in 1993 at the BFA Asian Baseball Championship and FISU Summer Universiade.
“It’s an honour to have Chan-ho Park, one of South Korea’s most storied baseball players, as a WBSC Premier12 Global Ambassador,” said WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari. “He personifies ‘global baseball’ and the new WBSC Premier12 flagship platform: he has played at the top level, and has represented his country and our sport proudly on the international stage.”
Peter O’Malley, who was the president of the Dodgers when Park signed with the club, said: “Chan-ho Park is recognised as a true international baseball goodwill ambassador.”
Said Park: “I am very honoured and take very seriously this appointment as a Global Ambassador of the inaugural 2015 WBSC Premier12. The sport of baseball has shaped my life, and I embrace this responsibility to represent the sport of baseball at the world level for WBSC and Premier12. Playing for my National Team will always be one of my fondest memories of my career, and I will do everything I can to help promote the ideal, the duty and the sense of pride that comes with putting your country first.”
The success of the South Korean National Baseball Team, particularly following the gold medal win at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, has helped fuel baseball’s position as the most popular spectator sport in South Korea, with KBO setting record attendance numbers across all sports in the nation, surpassing 7.15 million in annual attendance in 2013 – more than five times the annual attendance of the next sport.
KBO stars will be united on their National Team to defend South Korea in the WBSC Premier12 global baseball battle.
Additional 2015 WBSC Premier12 Global Ambassadors — in collaboration with the participating Premier12 teams — will be announced in the lead up to the event, which gets underway with world No. 1 Japan and world No. 8 South Korea in a special opener at the 40,000-seat Sapporo Dome in Japan on Sunday, 8 November.