July 3, 2009 – Shin-Soo Choo 4 Hits, 7 RBI
At the beginning of 2009, Shin-Soo Choo signed a one year deal with the Indians. Choo was 27 and still on the hook for two years of military service in his native South Korea before age 30.
Choo was coming off a strong 2008 season in which he was the Player of the Month for September and the Korean national team had taken Japan to extra innings in the World Baseball Classic finals.
The 2009 Indians were dead last in the American League at 32 and 49 for the season and were looking to get some good vibes going against the AL West basement-dwelling A’s.
The A’s jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, but the Indians offense was the key to this game. Travis Hafner got things started with a solo home run in the bottom of the second. In the bottom of the third, Choo drove in Ben Francisco with a single to center.
Choo chased starter Trevor Cahill to from the game with a two-run double down the left field line in the bottom of the fourth. By the end of the inning, the Tribe was up 8-3.
The Indians scored five more runs in the bottom of the fifth with a two-run double by Asdrubal Cabrera and a three run home run to deep right center by Choo.
In his fifth plate appearance, Choo led off the bottom of the seventh with a home run that barely stayed inside the right field foul pole.
The Indians went on to win 15-3.
After the MLB Season, Choo once again joined up with the Korean national team. They earned a gold medal in the Asia Cup, and Choo earned the military exemption that he had long sought. At 1542 games and counting, Choo is the longest tenured and most accomplished Korean in the MLB.