Phillies: Aaron Altherr becomes Korean Series champion

Outfielder Aaron Altherr #23 of NC Dinos (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
Outfielder Aaron Altherr #23 of NC Dinos (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images) /

After a 6-year MLB career, former Phillies OF Aaron Altherr is a KBO champion.

Former Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Aaron Altherr can call himself a baseball champion.

Playing for the NC Dinos in the Korean Baseball Organization’s Korean Series — the equivalent of MLB’s World Series — Altherr’s team bested the Doosan Bears, 4-2, in Game 6 of the best-of-seven set on Tuesday for their first-ever championship. With a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning, Altherr doubled and later scored the first of three key insurance runs that inning.

Overall in the series, Altherr hit .333 with seven hits — including one home run — three runs scored, five RBI, one walk, and four strikeouts spanning 21 at-bats.

Playing in 136 regular season games this year for the Dinos, Altherr seemed to have no trouble finding power overseas. In fact, he slugged 20 doubles, seven triples, 31 home runs, and 108 RBI across 546 plate appearances, albeit a 149-46 strikeouts-to-walks ratio.

Altherr’s team finished with a KBO-best record of 83-55, a .601 winning percentage. The league’s worst team, the Hanwha Eagles, went just 46-95 (.326).

2020 Korean Series scores

  • Game 1: Doosan Bears 3, NC Dinos 5
  • Game 2: Doosan Bears 5, NC Dinos 4
  • Game 3: NC Dinos 6, Doosan Bears 7
  • Game 4: NC Dinos 3, Doosan Bears 0
  • Game 5: Doosan Bears 0, NC Dinos 5
  • Game 6: Doosan Bears 2, NC Dinos 4

The NC Dinos defeating the Doosan Bears in the 2020 Korean Series is especially notable, as the latter team won the KBO league championship in three of the previous five seasons, including in 2019.

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Altherr was not the only player formerly from the Phillies organization to play in Korea this year amid the pandemic; David Buchanan and Ben Lively played for the Samsung Lions, and Ricardo Pinto with the SK Wyverns, while fellow right-hander Dan Straily and outfielder Hyun Soo Kim appeared with the Lotte Giants and LG Twins, respectively. Most put up impressive numbers.

The Phillies drafted the now-29-year-old in the ninth round of the 2009 draft out of high school; spanning 332 games in red pinstripes from 2014-19, he slashed .222/.311/.405 with 53 doubles, 10 triples, 36 home runs, and 148 RBI. Altherr also played for the San Francisco Giants and New York Mets in 2019, before inking a deal with the NC Dinos that offseason.

Congratulations on becoming a Korean Series champion, Aaron!

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