Take me out to the
ginseng field | Kaesong
baseball, 1921

Undefeated from Inchon to Hamhung

There are only two seasons — winter and baseball. — Bill Veeck

In the summer of 1921 —the same year Babe Ruth hit 59 home runs — the All-Songdo Higher Normal School baseball team of Kaesong went on a very successful 8-game road-trip.

These boys who grew up playing ball among ginseng fields and the ruins of a fallen dynasty, swept their opposition coast to coast — from Hamhung to Inchon — irrespective of race or creed with a combination of crushing offense and overpowering pitching.

A postcard showing ginseng fields around Kaesong from the Japanese colonial era.

A newspaper at the time describes their fete as ‘eight battles, eight victories’ (팔전팔승 | 八戰八勝), a play on the phrase ‘one hundred battles, one hundred victories’, or ‘ever victorious’.

Their schedule was as follows:

Game 1 | 27 July 1 PM | vs. Hamhung YMCA, Win 12­—1

Game 2 | 28 July 1 PM | vs. Wonsan YMCA, Win 10—0

Games 3 & 4 | 31 July 9 AM | vs. All-Wonsan (Japanese team), Win 19—3

And at 4 PM | vs. the ‘Missionaries’ (American team), Win 17—8

Game 5 | 6 August 4 PM | vs. Inchon Hanyong YMCA, Win 20—0

Game 6 | 9 August 4 PM | vs. Inchon Commerce and Industry (Japanese team), 10—0, Win

Game 7 | 10 August 4 PM | vs. Inchon Bank (Japanese team), 15—0, Win

Game 8 | 12 August 5 PM | vs. Seoul Electric (Japanese team), 12—5, Win

On their road trip, Songdo Higher Normal School outscored their opponents 115—17.

Over the same period, Babe Ruth drove in 22 runs over 14 games, including eight home runs in the process.

Interested in baseball in North Korea? Check out our other posts on the subject:

*‘Short History of Baseball in Northern Korea’ Part I and Part II

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