Jung-Ho Kang rightfully knows how it feels like having everything in a moment and then losing most of it in a short time.
He deserved to achieve big things because he was good at his game. But he also deserved to lose what he had achieved earlier because it’s not justifiable to indulge in the dirt again and again.
Jung Ho Kang used to be the nation’s pride to South Koreans years ago. However, it won’t be wrong to regard him as the nation’s disgrace for whatever he did.
Jung Ho Kang is a South Korean professional baseball player. He was associated with the Hyundai Unicorns and Nexen Heroes of the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO). KBO is the premium baseball league in South Korea.
Similarly, he was associated with the Pittsburgh Pirates of Major League Baseball (MLB) lately.
MLB is an American professional baseball organization, which happens to be one of the oldest sports leagues in the United States.
Today, we’ll be diving deep into Jung Ho Kang’s personal and professional life, including everything from his early life and debut to his baseball career and controversies.
Quick Facts About Jung-Ho Kang
Korean pronunciation: [kaŋ.dʑʌŋ.ɦo]
|April 5, 1987
|Gwangju, South Korea
|36 years old
|Gwangju Jeil High School
|Sung Su Kang
|6 feet (183 cm)
|Korean Baseball Organization (KBO)
Major League Baseball (MLB)
|Last KBO Appearance
|Last MLB Appearance
|Hyundai Unicorns of KBO
Nexen Heroes of KBO
Pittsburg Pirates of MLB
|$2.5 million (in 2016)
|An accusation of sexual assault (not proved)
Charged for Driving under the influence (DUO) / Drunk-driving thrice
|Social Media Handles
|Nexen Heroes of KBO’s Merch
Jung-Ho Kang – Early life and Amateur Baseball Career
Jung-Ho Kang attended Gwangju Jeil High School. He played as a catcher in high school baseball.
Gwangju High School is known for producing some of the country’s finest baseball players. Seo Jae-weong, Kim Byung-Hyun, and Choi Hee-Seop of MLB also went to the same high school as Kang.
Kang helped Gwangju Jeil High School in their victory at Golden Lion Flag Championship in July 2005. He pitched 8 scoreless innings, striking out 7 and only giving up 2 hits. Also, he was honored with the Outstanding Pitcher Award and the RBI title.
South Korea takes high school baseball very seriously and has limited high school teams, unlike Japan and the United States. Kang was a big name in South Korean High School Baseball.
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Jung-Ho Kang – Member of the National Baseball Team
He represented the South Korean national under-18 team at the World Junior Baseball Championship in 2004. Kang played as a third baseman. In fact, his team won the bronze position.
Jung-Ho Kang – Professional Baseball Career in KBO
The Hyundai Unicorns drafted Jung-Ho Kang in the second round of the 2006 Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) First-Year Player Draft.
He worked very hard to make an impact in his first two seasons. He played 10 games and batted .150 as a newbie in the Hyundai Unicorns. Also, Kang recorded eight strikeouts in 21 plate appearances.
Further, he appeared in 20 games and hit .133 in 2007.
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Hyundai had to sell the unicorns. Consequently, they ceased to function.
A new team, Woori Heroes, was introduced as a replacement. It was renamed the Nexen Heroes in 2009.
Kang was the starting shortstop for the Woori Heroes in 2008. He played 116 games, with .271 batting, 8 home runs, and 47 RBI.
Kang played from the offense’s side in 2009. He scored a .286 batting average, 23 home runs, 81 RBI, a .508 slugging percentage, 136 hits, and 71 runs scored in the season.
Further, he partnered with the Lotte Giants’ Hong for the league lead in doubles.
Kang scored a .300 batting average for the first time in 2010. Also, he secured an average of .301, 12 home runs, and 58 RBI in the season. He played from the defense’s side.
Moreover, Kang earned his first KBO Gold Glove Award from his defensive play.
He then made 3 home runs in 13 at-bats. As a result, he won the gold medal at the 2010 Asian Games as a South Korean baseball team member.
However, Kang was not as good as his two previous seasons in 2011. He hit .282, with 9 home runs and 63 RBI.
Kang returned to his old pace in 2012. He hit .314 with 25 home runs (2nd in the league), 82 RBI, 77 runs scored, and a career-high 21 stolen bases. In fact, he also received his second Gold Glove Award.
Further, Kang participated in the 2013 World Baseball Classic in March 2013.
He then hit 22 home runs and had an OPS of .876 in the 2013 KBO season. He succeeded in winning his third Gold Glove Award. Moreover, it was a subsequent win after 2012.
Kang recorded the best scores of his career in 2014. He hit .356 with 40 home runs and 117 RBI. Also, he led the league in slugging percentage (.739) and OPS (1.198).
Further, he completed the second, scoring 40 home runs and .459 OBP. He then finished third with 117 RBI and 36 doubles. Likewise, he scored 103 runs in fifth.
Also, he won his fourth Gold Glove Award. It was a 3rd straight win.
You can watch Kang’s KBO career statistics on the website of the Korean Baseball Organization.
Jung-Ho Kang – Professional Baseball Career in MLB
Pittsburg Pirates of Major League Baseball (MLB) won the bidding for Jung-Ho Kang on December 2, 2014. After that, Kang became an MLB player.
The Pittsburgh Pirates also owned the opportunity to negotiate a contract for Kang to move to MLB by winning the bid.
The winning bid for Kang was revealed to be $5,002,015 (₩5,457,150,000). This amount was paid to the Nexen heroes, Kang’s former team.
It was to be paid because they owned the exclusive rights to negotiate Kang’s contract and also for losing Kang.
Jung-Ho Kang signed a four-year contract worth $11 million with the Pittsburgh Pirates on January 16, 2015. The contract also had an option for the fifth year.
Kang then went to Pittsburgh from South Korea to legitimize the contract. They also went for a physical test, a must for a sportsperson. However, no press conference or any other announcement program was held.
Kang decided to train with his former club, Nexen Heroes, in preparation for his MLB debut. Actually, Nexen heroes had arrived in Arizona for their Spring Training hosted by the Texas Rangers spring training facility.
They trained together from January 25, 2015 – February 7, 2015. Kang worked precisely on his strength while training.
Kang’s transition from the KBO to the MLB was covered by Korea-based and US-based Korean language media houses. However, there was not much domestic coverage.
Similarly, Kang then attended the spring training game at Bradenton, Florida. He had a faceoff with Jordy Mercer for the starting shortstop job at the spring training.
Further, Kang connected on a 0-1 fastball (middle-in), taking advantage of a mistake by Marco Estrada, Toronto’s right-handed starting pitcher, in the second at-bat of his first spring training game in 2015.
He recorded an opposite-field solo home run in the third inning. Hence, he contributed to the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 5-0 lead and eventual 8-7 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.
Similarly, Kang grabbed his first Major League hit against Milwaukee Brewers Kyle Lohse on April 5, 2015. Kang then secured his first RBI against the Chicago Cubs on April 21.
It was a bases-clearing RBI double that took the Pittsburgh Pirates to an 8–5 lead.
Kang batted to establish a lead in the 9th inning while his team was at a 0-1 loss in St. Louis on May 3, 2015. Kang then connected on the inning’s first pitch, bringing the game into a 1-1 tie against Trevor Rosenthal of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Hence, the Pittsburgh Pirates achieved a 7–5 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on May 9, 2015. Also, they succeeded in becoming the first MLB team to turn a 4–5–4 triple play.
Similarly, Kang connected on an impressive 472-ft solo shot on September 8, 2015. It was his 14th shot of the season, on the road against the Cincinnati Reds.
Further, Kang’s had to deal with a severe left-leg fracture when the baserunner Chris Coghlan of Chicago Clubs attempted to break the double play by sliding into Kang. It was an aggressive move.
As a result, Kang was placed on the 60-day disabled list. He even had to miss the remaining games of the season. In fact, he could not even participate in the postseason NL wild-card game.
Nonetheless, the Pittsburgh Pirates were the host to the Chicago Cubs at the NL wild-card game.
Kang appeared in the wheelchair on the field during the pre-game introductions of the NL Wild Card game on October 7. He received a standing ovation.
In short, Jung-Ho Kang participated in 126 games in the 2015 season, scoring 15 home runs and 58 RBIs. Also, he gained third place in the National League’s Rookie of the Year voting.
Kang played his first game after an injury on May 6, 2016. He recorded two solo home runs in the game. His score contributed to the Pirates’ 4–2 road victory over their NL Central division rival St. Louis Cardinals.
Kang played 103 games, batting .255 with a career-high 21 home runs and 62 RBIs in the 2016 season.
Kang indulged in some massive legal troubles in 2017. Hence, the Pittsburgh Pirates placed Kang on the Restricted List on March 11. He was stuck in South Korea when this decision was made.
Further, he was not a part of the Pirates’ active roster or 40-man roster on April 3, 2017, the opening day. His work visa to travel to the United States was terminated as well.
A Korean court upheld the verdict of Kang’s suspended sentence on May 18. Henceforth, his games in the United States were greatly disturbed.
You can watch Jung-Ho Kang’s career statistics on the website of baseball-reference.
Jung-Ho Kang – Controversies
Kang has been a part of legal troubles several times.
He matched with a 23-year-old woman from Chicago on Bumble. He invited her to his hotel room.
She went to his hotel room at about 10 p.m. on June 17, 2016. She claimed to have been given an alcoholic drink that made her blackout about 15 to 20 minutes later. Further, the woman claimed to have been sexually assaulted.
She said that the drink drifted her in and out of consciousness as he sexually assaulted her. However, no charges were brought against Kang because the accused didn’t cooperate with the police investigation.
Similarly, he was arrested for driving under the influence in South Korea at the end of the 2016 season.
It was his third Driving Under the Influence (DUI) offense.
Kang was given an eight-month suspended prison sentence in March 2017 after he left the scene of an accident in Seoul on December 2, 2016.
He was charged for the same offense in 2009 and 2011. The Pittsburgh Pirates had no idea about these charges while recruiting Kang.
The Korean authorities refused to provide a work permit to Kang to enter the United States. This incident brought an end to his 2017 season.
Jung-Ho Kang – The Second Chance (Return to the Pittsburgh Pirates)
The Pittsburgh Pirates built an agreement for Kang to join a treatment program. Kang cooperated in it faithfully.
He said that he was trying to be as careful as possible in everything he does to avoid any hurdles. Also, Kang claimed not to have touched a single drop of alcohol.
He returned to the Pittsburgh Pirates but could not demonstrate good games like earlier. The Pirates designated him for an assignment in August 2019 after he hit .169 with 10 home runs in 185 plate appearances.
Jung-Ho Kang was released from the Pittsburgh Pirates on August 4, 2019.
You can watch an overview of Jung-Ho Kang’s MLB career on the website of MLB.
Jung-Ho Kang – Life After MLB
Kang begged to have a chance to return to KBO. He loved baseball and insisted on getting one final chance to play the game that he adored.
According to the KBO rules, a player indulged in driving under the influence thrice is subjected to a suspension of at least three years.
However, his suspension was reduced to a one-year suspension and 300 hours of community service in May 2020.
The authority went for many rounds of discussions before the decision.
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Jung-Ho Kang – Salary and Net Worth
The South Korean baseball player received a salary of $2.5 million from MLB in 2016.
He also had a 4-year contract worth $11 million with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Jung-Ho Kang’s net worth is estimated to be around $12 million.
Visit Jung-Ho Kang – Wikipedia to stay updated on Kang’s life.
Jung-Ho Kang – Social Media Presence
Kang is relatively less active on his social media handles. However, you can follow him via these links:
Common Queries About Jung-Ho Kang
Where does Jung-Ho Kang live now?
Jung-Ho Kang currently lives in his home country, South Korea.
Was Jung-Ho Kang arrested for sexual assault?
Jung-Ho Kang was accused of sexual assault by a Chicago woman. However, the accusation could not be proved as the accuser didn’t cooperate with the police in the investigation.