1954 Caribbean Series
The 1954 Caribbean Series (Serie del Caribe) was the sixth edition of the first stage of the Caribbean Series. It was held in San Juan, Puerto Rico from February 18 to February 23. The series featured four teams from Cuba, Panama, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela. The Criollos de Caguas of the host Puerto Rican League won the series and were managed by Mickey Owen. The Series was closely fought as the champion went 4 - 2; had Pastora de Occidente beaten Caguas-Guayama in the tenth game, all the teams would have finished 3-3. The Most Valuable Player was Jim Rivera, an outfielder with the Criollos de Caguas.
The Caguas-Guayama team was in the middle of the pack in offense (22 runs), prevailing behind their fine pitching, which gave up just 10 earned runs. Lawrence (1-0, 1.00), Valentine (1-0, 1.00) and Gómez (1-0, 2.00) each turned in fine efforts while Arroyo (1-0, 2 H, 0 ER in 7 1/3 IP) did the job out of the bullpen. Three hitters carried much of the offensive weight - OF Jim Rivera (.450, the top average of the tourney), 1B Vic Power (.348, 3 doubles) and 2B Jack Cassini (.333, 2 SB). Player-manager Mickey Owen hit .236.
Almendares was guided by Bobby Bragan, the only foreigner to pilot a Cuban Winter League champion. Other than Marrero (1-0, 0.00) and Iott (1-0, 0.00), the pitching was fair. The offense led the tournament with 28 runs, guided primarily by outfielders Sam Chapman (.391, .609 SLG) and Angel Scull (.391, .522 SLG, 5 R).
Al Kubski managed Carta Vieja, which was clearly led by Stryska (2-0, 0.00) and Hockenberry (1-0, 1.00, 2 H, 10 K in 9) on the hill. 3B Joe Tuminelli, a former Series MVP, hit .391, while OF Bobby Prescott batted .381 with three doubles. They scored the fewest runs (17).
Pastora's most effective starters in ERA had the worst records - Kipper (0-2, 2.12) and Fox (0-1, 2.58), while Beard (1-1, 7.20) and Monzant (1-0, 3.00, 9 BB in 9 IP) got their only wins. 3B Luis "Camaleón" García hit .348 with 9 RBI, the most in the Series, and slugged .563 while 2B Johnny Temple hit .320 for an otherwise weak offense.
|Caguas-Guayama||PRI Puerto Rican League||6||4||2||0.667||Mickey Owen|
|Almendares||CUB Cuban Winter League||6||3||3||0.500||Bobby Bragan|
|Carta Vieja||PAN Panamanian League||6||3||3||0.500||Stanford Graham|
|Pastora de Occidente||VEN Venezuelan League||6||2||4||0.333||Buster Mills|
- Batting Average: .450 - Jim Rivera, Caguas-Guayama
- Home Runs: 2 - Ray Orteig, Almendares
- Runs Batted In: 9 - Luis García, Pastora de Occidente
- Wins: 2 - Vic Strizka, Carta Vieja
|Win: Beard (1-0) Loss: Walsh (0-1)|
The game was cut short due to a time limit. It was the first time in the Series that a Venezuelan club had beaten a Cuban one after 10 straight wins by the Cubans.
|Win: Stryska (1-0) Loss: Sanford (0-1)|
Stryska allows no runs in handcuffing the eventual champions.
No games were played on February 19, presumably due to rain delay
|Win: Marrero (1-0) Loss: Walsh (0-1)|
Connie Marrero, aged somewhere between 46 and 52, was in absolutely dominant form in a complete game win.
|Win: Gómez (1-0) Loss: Kipper (0-1)|
Both hurlers went the distance.
|Win: Monzant (1-0) Loss: Stempel (0-1)|
|Win: Fannin (1-0) Loss: Lawrence (0-1)|
Four games were played to make up for the postponed games of the 19th.
|Win: Iott (1-0) Loss: Fox (0-1)|
Another Cuba-Venezuela game was stopped by the time limit after 8 innings
|Win: Arroyo (1-0) Loss: Robinson (0-1)|
|Win: Hockenberry (1-0) Loss: Muncrief (0-1)|
|Win: Valentine (1-0) Loss: Beard (1-1)|
The Puerto Rican entry clinches it with their second win of the day, much easier than the 11-inning affair from the early goings-on. Valentine goes the distance, while Beard gets knocked out in the second inning.
|Win: Stryska (2-0) Loss: Kipper (0-2)|
Stryska again allows no earned runs as neither team goes to the bullpen in this pitching duel.
|Win: Walsh (1-1) Loss: Olivo (0-1)|
- Thomas E. Van Hyning: "Caguas Criollos: Five Caribbean Series Crowns and Cooperstown Connections", Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Vol. 47, Nr. 1 (spring 2018), pp. 7-16.
|Serie del Caribe (Caribbean Series)
|Most Valuable Player | Serie Interamericana | Confederación de Béisbol del Caribe|
|Caribbean Baseball Hall of Fame|