1987 Intercontinental Cup

From BR Bullpen

The 1987 Intercontinental Cup was the 8th Intercontinental Cup and the first to feature 10 teams. Held in Havana, Cuba from October 10 through October 26, 1987, the event was dominated by Cuba. Cuba was fresh off a "disappointing" 1987 Pan American Games in that they lost a game but still won Gold; just losing a game was rare for Cuba in this era. All player statistics below are for the round-robin phase unless otherwise noted.

Flag of Cuba Cuba dominated, hitting 46 home runs while allowing only 19 runs of any kind. They outscored opponents 138-19. Cuba dominated the All-Star team for the tourney with C Orestes Kindelan (.535/~.592/1.186, 20 R, 8 HR, 19 RBI in 43 AB), 1B Alejo O'Reilly (.588/~.659/1.471, 9 HR, 20 RBI in 34 AB), 2B Antonio Pacheco (.409/~.469/.886, 15 R, 15 RBI in 44 AB), 3B Omar Linares (.468/~.519/1.213, 11 HR, 23 R, 26 RBI in 47 AB), OF Luis Casanova, P René Arocha and P Pablo Abreu (2-0, 0.00 ERA, 22 K in 14 IP). Linares led the tournament in runs, homers and RBI, O'Reilly led in average, Pacheco in triples and (3) and Rogelio García and Jorge Luis Valdés tie for the best record (3-0). Arocha was 3-0 with a 1.64 ERA for the event as a whole. Jorge Fuentes was making his debut as Cuba's skipper.

Flag of United States United States won Silver. They were just 4-4 in the first round with a 45-44 run differential but were 4-1 in the finals, losing 5-0 to Cuba but winning their other games by a combined 37-15 score. Mickey Morandini (.404, 8 2B, 16 R) led the tournament in doubles (8) and was named to the All-Star team at SS. Jay Knoblauh (.341, 15 R) led the Cup in steals (7) - he is mistakenly identified in A History of Cuban Baseball as Chuck Knoblauch. Robin Ventura (.364, 1 HR, 11 RBI), John Olerud (2-0, Sv, 3.94) and John Valentin (.304) went on to the best careers from the team.

Flag of Japan Japan was 7-1 in the round-robin for the 2nd-best record but fell to 3-2 in the finals for a Bronze. Hirofumi Ogawa hit .447 and slugged .789 to lead their team.

Flag of Chinese Taipei Chinese Taipei was 8-5 overall with 98 runs scored, second to Cuba. Chu-Ming Lee hit .500 and slugged .909; he led the event in hits (25). He and teammate Tai-Chuan Chiang made the All-Star outfield. Ming-Tsu Lu batted .463 with 6 home runs and slugged 1.172. Ping-Yang Huang worked the most innings (30 1/3) in the event. Yi-Hsin Chen went on to set the win record in Taiwanese pro baseball.

Flag of Canada Canada was 4-9 overall, outscored 121-55 but beat South Korea in the final round to earn a 5th place finish. Rheal Cormier was 3-0 with a 0.57 ERA to tie for the win lead as the main bright spot. Cormier would still be with Team Canada 21 years later, in the 2008 Olympics. Matt Stairs also went on to a fine career.

Flag of South Korea South Korea was 6-7 with a 64-77 run differential, better than Canada, but lost to them 5-3 in the final round to finish 6th. Korea included Jin-woo Song, who would go on to set the career win record in the Korea Baseball Organization.

Flag of Nicaragua Nicaragua went 2-6 with a 30-46 run differential in the round-robin and failed to advance, but nearly knocked out the USA, leading 5-0 before falling.

Flag of Mexico Mexico also was 2-6, with a 28-58 run margin.

Flag of Italy Italy went 1-7 and was outscored 51-27. Their only win came against Canada but they kept it close in a 4-1 loss to Cuba, one of the few teams to slow the Cuban bats.

Flag of Aruba Aruba was last at 1-7, outscored 80-17. One notable name was Richard Orman, who went on to an excellent career in Hoofdklasse.

See also 1987 Intercontinental Cup (Rosters)


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