June in South Korea is the month of Armed Forces Month. This is because there are many government-designated holidays to honor the sacrifices of those who served, including Memorial Day, the Korean War, and the Second Battle of Yeonpyeong.
Even in Major League Baseball, there are players of different skin colors who are related to the Korean War. Rich Hill (43, Pittsburgh), a teammate of Choi Ji-Man (32) and Bae Ji-Hwan (24), is the oldest active pitcher in the major leagues.
Hill’s father, Lloyd Hill Sr. who passed away last year at the age of 94, was a U.S. Army veteran of the Korean War, according to MLB.com. During his lifetime, he completed the Boston Marathon 37 times, and was known for his physical strength, as well as his good deeds and service to others.
“My father was a veteran of the Korean War,” Hill confirmed to StarNews during a recent meeting at the home team’s clubhouse at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
“I was told that his rank was lieutenant when he was deployed in 1950. However, I was never given any details about what unit he was in or what battles he fought in during the Korean War. This is because my father was very reticent during his life, and he never mentioned or bragged about these things directly to me.”
When I thanked Hill for his father’s sacrifice, he said, “His time in Korea is something I hope to learn more about in the future.” He added, “If I ever get the chance, I hope to follow in his footsteps, because he was willing to risk his precious youth and life for the freedom and peace of Korea. I am so proud and honored to have a father like that.”
A native of Massachusetts in the northeastern United States, Hill was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the fourth round of the 2002 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. His rise was so rapid that he made his major league debut in June 2005, just three years later. But the road from there was anything but smooth. 스포츠토토
Traded to Baltimore in 2009, he has since bounced around from Boston to Cleveland to the Los Angeles Angels to the New York Yankees to Boston to Oakland to the Los Angeles Dodgers to Minnesota to Tampa Bay to the New York Mets to Boston before signing a one-year, $8 million deal with Pittsburgh this offseason. He’s changed teams 13 times, with 12 different organizations.
When asked if he had any trouble adjusting to his new team, Hill said, “Not at all. Pittsburgh has players like Choi Ji-Man, who I played with in Tampa Bay, which helped me adjust,” he said. “In particular, Choi Ji-Man’s usual cheerfulness makes me want to learn Korean and communicate with him more closely and deeply.”
As of July 7, Hills, now in his 19th year in the major leagues, has started 12 games this season, posting a 5-5 record with a 4.41 ERA. His career record in the big leagues is 87-64 with a 3.87 ERA in 326 games. It’s not glamorous, but his longevity in the jungle-like competition of the big leagues is quite remarkable.
“He’s the oldest pitcher in the game, but the way he works on the field before every game is a testament to his integrity,” Hill’s teammate Choi Ji-Man told Star News. “No one on our team prepares and analyzes games as hard as he does.”
“Watching Hill’s routine, it’s easy to see how he’s been able to stay in the major leagues for 19 years,” Choi said. “I’m a beast, but I want to emulate his work ethic and the fact that he’s always working and studying.”
When asked how long he thinks he’ll be able to pitch in the big leagues, Hill said, “Nobody knows. There are no guarantees, but I’m still confident,” he said with a big smile.