Million Dollar Arm: Looking back on the Boston Red Sox presence in Asia

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The first to debut was Korean righty Jin Ho Cho. The 22-year old caught Duquette’s eye pitching for the Korean National Team at the 1996 Olympics, posting a 2.38 ERA in three games. Duquette gave the native of Jun Ju City an $850,000 signing bonus.

Making his first start on July 4, 1998, Cho held the White Sox to one run over six tidy innings of work, taking the loss as the Red Sox bats went quiet. He was trampled by Baltimore the following start and after two more ineffective outings was sent to the minors. Cho would return in ’99 but never experienced sustained success at the Major League level, eventually heading back to Korea after several less-than-impressive campaigns in Pawtucket. Back home, Cho was jailed for several years trying to avoid military service.

Countryman Sang-Hoon Lee was one of Duquette’s most heralded international busts — right up there with “Dominican Mystery Man” Robinson Checo. The 28-year old former Korean “Fireman of the Year” got $3 million from the Red Sox for two years that ultimately resulted in 11 and 2/3 big league innings.

Nicknamed “Samson,” the orange-haired Lee actually posted a decent 3.09 ERA in his nine Major League appearances in 2000, but failed to crack the roster out of spring training the following year. He played out the string with Pawtucket, then headed back to Korea, where it is said he eventually pursued his dream of becoming a rock musician.