On page A24 of the Dong-A Ilbo, dated January 21, 2019, ‘Directly appearing at the age of 50… A topical article titled ‘Director Dae-seong Koo, who threw fresh 投’ was published.
Coach Dae-seong Koo, who was the head coach of Geelong Korea in the Australian Professional Baseball League (ABL) at the time, took the mound in a home game against Brisbane. Director Gu, who was born in 1969, was 50 years old at the time. Although he was on the mound for the first time in 1457 days, his unique pitching form and throwing position that twisted his body were still the same. He climbed the mound with a relaxed expression and blocked one inning with one hit, one walk, and no runs. “It was so hard to pitch after a long time. He, too, was getting older and felt he shouldn’t throw. It was fan service. I don’t think there will be any work on the mound anymore,” he laughed.
4 years after that. Director Gu reversed his words. On the 19th of last month, in a game against ABL Adelaide, he made a surprise appearance on the mound again. He pitched too well for another round of fan service. On the mound at the bottom of the 8th inning, he struck out two runs in one inning and allowed no runs. His highest fastball speed stayed in the early 120km range, but with his breaking ball and control, he repeatedly turned the bats of Australian batters who were younger than him. He played in two more games after that and ended the season with two runs in three games and two and one-third innings.
The appearance of 54-year-old active pitcher Koo Dae-sung became a hot topic in the United States, the home of baseball. MLB.com, the official homepage of American professional baseball, shed new light on Koo Dae-sung’s performance under the title “A player who might throw forever.”
After retiring from Korean professional baseball, Hanwha, I got in touch with coach Koo, who lives in Sydney, Australia. When asked about the surprise appearance, he said, “I didn’t go to throw from the beginning. He originally came to the stadium as a first pitcher. But Geelong Korea coach Lee Byeong-gyu (Samsung head coach) said, ‘If you feel good, try throwing it’, so I threw it.” He didn’t even have a uniform, so he borrowed a uniform from Seo Jun-won (23, Lotte), who is similar in size, and climbed the mound.
Coach Koo is a legendary left-handed pitcher born in Korean professional baseball. He joined Binggrae (now Hanwha) in 1993 and recorded 67 wins, 71 losses, 214 saves, and an ERA of 2.85 until his final retirement in 2010. He got on the mound both starting and finishing, winning 18 and 24 games in 1996. After that, he went through Orix in Japan Professional Baseball and also advanced to the New York Mets of the American Professional Baseball Major League (MLB). After settling in Australia, he played for ABL Sydney.안전놀이터
He was famous as the ‘Japanese Killer’ in international competitions. In the bronze medal match against Japan at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, he threw 155 balls by himself until the ninth inning, winning a complete game. At that time, Japan’s opposing pitcher was Daisuke Matsuzaka (43, retired), who was called a ‘monster’, and threw a whopping 160 pitches. The bloody battle between the two pitchers is one of the unforgettable scenes of international baseball competitions.
However, no matter how much I was a legend during my active career, how can I maintain my stamina until I am in my mid-50s?
The secret to health that Director Gu picked is small meals and a healthy lifestyle. He said he eats two meals a day. Breakfast is simple with vegetables, yogurt, and nuts. And dinner is early, around 5pm. I do not cover food separately. I eat the food I want to eat that day, such as Korean, Western, and Chinese food. However, salt intake should be minimized. For example, Korean food is eaten seasoned with fruits such as apples or pears instead of seasoned with salt. He said, “Anyway, since I’m older, even a little overeating can quickly put on weight. So I reduced the number of meals and switched to eating dinner earlier. It helps a lot with weight maintenance,” he said.
And avoid irritating foods as much as possible. Avoid sweet, salty, and spicy foods and try to eat as fresh as possible. He said, “As I get older, I feel that my muscles lose much faster than before. To build muscle, you need to eat more protein than carbs. When I was a player, I ate a lot at any time, but now I eat as little protein as possible.”
The string of exercise is still not let go. Koo Dae-sung is the coach of the Australian national under-16 baseball team. He said, “In order to teach young players well, I must be in good shape. So, after taking a break for a while, I started pitching again about a year ago. During practice, I threw the ball for about 130 km.”
It’s not like I’m going through a lot of training like when I was an athlete. When I don’t have a partner, I exercise alone. There are two large parks near my house, and there is also a baseball field, so the environment is very good.
He said, “I go to the playground around 11 am, do basic gymnastics, and throw a ball by myself. He also throws as long as 70m and pitches 30m. About twice a week, he mixes fastballs, sliders, changeups, and other breaking balls for bullpen pitching.”
And what I do not forget is running. Alternate between short, medium and long distance runs. When he gets tired of running, he cycles around the neighborhood for 30 to 40 kilometers.
Coach Koo said, “From my point of view, the most important thing in sports is consistency. Set a time for yourself and try to stick to it. It could be running or push-ups. It is important to create a habit of exercise in any way.”
He did not forget to ask fans living in their 50s. Director Koo said, “Unlike the past, times have changed a lot. In the past, people in their 50s and 60s were the age to think about retirement, but now they are at an age where they can do many things. To do that, you must first be healthy. Everyone, if you exercise hard and stay healthy, you will be able to do more in the remaining 100 years of your life. I will keep preparing until I can throw too,” he concluded.