This is a question that decorates the first scene of the cartoon ‘Slam Dunk’, which recently gained great popularity with the release of a new theatrical version. She notices her basketball-loving female student, Chae-yeon Cha, approaches her taller male student, Kang Baek-ho, and asks if she is a basketball player. According to the setting, Kang Baek-ho is 188 cm tall and looks like a giant compared to 156 cm Gae-yeon and her friends. In the early 1990s, when the manga was serialized, high school students who were taller than 180 cm were considered “tall”.
How about today, 30 years later? If you approach a male student who is almost 190cm tall and ask, ‘Do you like basketball? This is because the physical condition of Korean high school baseball players has improved remarkably in recent years. Now, 180cm is the standard, and there are not a few tall players against 180cm. Even in the slam dunk worldview, players in the 190cm and 195cm range that belong to the ‘center’ level are often seen. Cha Chi-soo, who is called ‘Gorilla Center’ in the comics, is 197 cm tall.
180cm, which served as the standard for tall players in the early days of professional baseball, is now at the ‘average’ level even in high school baseball. The average height of 3,613 registered high school baseball players this year, as compiled by Baseball Korea, 메이저놀이터 is exactly 180cm. 3rd grade was the tallest with an average of 182cm, 2nd grade was 181cm, and 1st grader whose growth plate had not yet closed was 178cm. For reference, the average height of 2023 professional baseball registered players disclosed by KBO is 182.5 cm.
Then, how many high school student athletes are taller than 180cm? Surprisingly, 2,047 players, or 56.7% of all players, were in the 180cm height range. 709 (71%) of the 3rd graders, 712 (60.2%) of the 2nd graders, and 626 (43.7%) of the 1st graders were taller than 180cm.