On this day…
in 1984, it was Children’s Day just like it was today. After years of being just an ordinary day with a name, Children’s Day was finally designated as a national holiday in South Korea in 1975. The origin of the holiday goes all the way back almost a century ago, when Korea was under Japanese occupation. It is a legacy of a children’s novelist slash children’s rights activist by the name of Bang Jeong-hwan (방정환, 1899-1931). He was the one who coined the term “eo-rin-i” (어린이), which later settled as the Korean word for “children”, in an effort to show equal respect to them as one would to an adult. Before children were called in derogatory slang.
Fastforward to 1960, when a future Haitai Tigers pitcher was born in another Bang family. Bang Seung-hwan (방승환) was his name. He had a younger brother by the name of Bang Soo-won (방수원), who went missing during childhood and never to be heard again for around a decade. With all hopes lost, the father decided to report the younger brother dead to update his family registry. However, the father inadvertently reported his name (Seung-hwan) instead of his younger’s name (Soo-won) as the deceased member. Thus, we all know the pitcher as Bang Soo-won, who we also know as the first player to throw a no-hitter in Korea Baseball Championship history.
An 8-0 victory against the Sammi Superstars at Gwangju’s Mudeung Baseball Stadium. His final line: 9.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 K in 102 pitches.
Prior to Bang’s no-hitter, South Korea has seen 16 no-nos in the industrial league and five in college baseball. However, after 598 games since its inauguration, the professional level finally began their list. Such achievement could have not been done on a better day.
By the way, when the league first opened in 1982, the Korea Baseball Organization’s (KBO) catchphrase was “Dreams for the Children, Courage for the Young” (어린이에겐 꿈을, 젊은이에겐 용기를).
- 2014 Official Record Book, Korea Baseball Organization.
- 프로 야구를 보는 눈, Dong-A Ilbo, Mar. 29, 1982.
- 프로 야구 첫 노히트노런… 房水源, The Kyunghyang Shinmun, May 7, 1984.
- 노히트노런 프로 1호 방수원, 골프 선생 되다, Dong-A Ilbo, Feb. 12, 2009.
- Bang Jung-hwan’s Passion for Children, KBS World, May 7, 2010.
- Bang Jung-hwan, the Creator of Children’s Day, May 5, 2011.