On This Date in Sports May 21, 2005: Mr. Koo
Dae-Sung Koo becomes a cult hero for the New York Mets with a seventh-inning double against Randy Johnson of the New York Yankees at Shea Stadium. Koo, a 35-year-old reliever from South Korea, had never had an at-bat prior to signing with the Mets. In his first at-bat, Dae-Sung Koo struck out against the Cincinnati Reds. Moments before Koo hit the double, Tim McCarver remarked it was the biggest give-up at-bat of the season. Dae-Sung Koo would score from second on a bunt by Jose Reyes as he slid past Jorge Posada, who was late to get back to home plate. The Mets would win the game 7-1.
It was Subway Series time as the New York Mets hosted the New York Yankees in a Nationally Televised game on Fox. The Mets and Yankees each were off to mediocre starts, with each team sitting at 22-20 entering the game. The Yankees had Randy Johnson on the mound, while the Mets countered with Kris Benson. Johnson had been acquired by the Yankees in the off-season but had yet to find his groove in the Bronx. The Mets had a big facelift in the off-season, hiring Willie Randolph off Joe Torre's staff as their new manager. Kris Benson was making the start for the Mets.
In the second inning, the Mets drew first blood as Kaz Matsui scored on a single by Jose Reyes. In the third inning, the Mets made it 2-0 as Mike Piazza scored on a double off the bat of David Wright. Benson pitched six innings for the Mets, allowing three hits with three walks and three strikeouts.
Dae-Sung Koo, who pitched for a decade in South Korea and Japan, relieved Benson in the seventh inning with a runner on base. Koo would strikeout Tino Martinez and Jorge Posada, with Alex Rodriguez thrown out trying to advance to second base on a wild pitch. Dae-Sung Koo would lead off in the bottom of the inning and look overmatched on the first two pitches before he laced a double over the head of Bernie Williams in center field. Jose Reyes laid down a punt and was thrown out at first; Koo advanced to third, saw home plate unoccupied, and scored the Mets' third run. Miguel Castro would hit a home run to make it 4-0 as Paul Quantril relieved Randy Johnson.
Dae-Sung Koo struck out Robinson Cano to start the eight before being relieved by Roberto Hernandez. The Mets would win the game 7-1. After the game, Koo revealed he had led weights in his jacket pocket, which he had used to aid his pregame workout. On the slide Dae-Sung Koo banged up his shoulder, affecting him for the rest of the season, as he spent nearly a month on the disabled list. Koo would return to South Kore following the season, but for his double against Randy Johnson became a Mets' cult hero.