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“It’s not impossible by the numbers.”

NC Dinos slugger Son Ah-seop, 36, is on track to set a record that will shake up the KBO this year. He will have 2,416 career hits by the 2023 season. He is 88 hits shy of the KBO’s all-time hits leader, Park Yong-taek (KBS N Sports commentator, 2504).

From 2010, when he was with the Lotte Giants, to this year, Son has hit 100 or more home runs in 14 straight years. In fact, his average should be around 170 hits. If he hits one home run every day from the opening game against the Doosan Bears on March 23, he could add 88 more hits in late June and early July and pass Park Yong-taek.

However, Son plans to pass Park Yong-taek first and then set his sights on the “real” goal of 3,000 hits. On June 6, he appeared on Lee Dae-ho’s YouTube channel [RE:DAEHO] and said, “It’s not impossible numerically,” but “it’s a battle to slow down the aging curve as much as possible.”

Dae-ho Lee said that he needed 600 hits to reach 3,000, and that he could do it in four years with 150 hits. That’s why Son said it was math. The 36-year-old is in the second two years of a four-year, 6.4 billion won free agent contract with NC, and if he plays for two more years, he could reach 3,000 hits.

However, Son is cautious: “I can only hit if I have a guaranteed contract and go to games. It’s important what kind of contract I get,” he said. “The next two years are very important for me personally,” he said, “because I want to make sure I have enough opportunities after this free agency.

Once you have a guaranteed opportunity, you need to take care of yourself to slow down the aging curve. Son is known for his strict routine. However, the passage of time is something no one can beat. Lee Dae-ho of Chungha Lee also told the program that he hit a home run, but at that moment, he injured his side and thought, “I should retire.” He is now 36 years old.

Son is now 36 years old and in his late 30s. As we age, our athleticism and reaction time decreases. That’s why it’s not uncommon for veteran batters to lose their timing to the same fastball. The only way to slow this down is to work out more and be more disciplined.

You also have to watch out for unexpected injuries. “I’ve been doing it steadily, and I haven’t gotten sick. Not getting sick is the most important thing. As you get older, if you get sick, it gives younger players a chance to step up. Of course, I want to help the younger guys, but it’s a competitive system and I don’t want to be sick and not be there. So I pay a lot of attention to my body,” he said.

Son admitted that he had heard a lot of talk about the aging curve after his poor performance in the 2022 season, so he takes care of his body even more thoroughly. Even with a guaranteed contract, variables such as physical condition and injury issues can be the biggest enemies on the road to 3,000 hits.

“3,000 hits is still a long way off,” he said. Honestly, I want to become the number one hitter sooner than that.” It’s a very realistic goal to set, and one that he hopes to surpass first.


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