2002 Intercontinental Cup
The 2002 Intercontinental Cup was the first Intercontinental Cup in which a team was stripped of a medal due to scandal. It also marked the return to dominance of the Cuban national team after having finished second in the prior two Cups. Using the youngest Cuban team in over two decades (and one with several future defectors), Cuba went unbeaten. They had the advantage of home field as the tourney was held in Havana from November 8 through November 20, 2002. One notable absence was Team USA, which sat out due to politics primarily. The MVP was Cuban DH Bárbaro Cañizares, a future defector.
- Cuba 5-0
- Japan 3-2
- Venezuela 3-2
- Dominican Republic 2-3
- Netherlands 2-3
- People's Republic of China 0-5
- South Korea 8, Panama 0. Ki-pyo Kim pitches 8 scoreless innings and holds Panama's three former major leaguers to one hit in 9 at-bats, whereas Jorge Cortez gives up 6 runs in 2 2/3 IP.
- Cuba 11, Dominican Republic 4. Frederich Cepeda drives in five and Kendry Morales four as Cuba's offense proves too much for five Dominican hurlers.
- Bronze Medal Game between Panama and the Dominican Republic rained out. Panama was initially awarded the Bronze. Positive tests for banned substances by Roberto Kelly, Earl Agnoly, Roberto Gutierrez and Jorge Cortez deprived them of their Medal though, which went instead to the Dominicans.
- Cuba 2, South Korea 1. The Gold Medal game is a pitcher's duel. 3B Bum-ho Lee homers against José Ibar in the 4th. In the 7th, Tae-hyon Chong allows a double to Cañizares followed by a giant home run by 2B Yobal Dueñas to put Cuba ahead for good. Maels Rodríguez and Pedro Luis Lazo combine for 5 1/3 scoreless innings to end the game for Cuba.
- Brazil beat Mexico but was worn down by a .222 team average and 7.74 ERA. The bright spot was All-Star CF Daniel Matsumoto, who hit .450/.522/.950 with 2 doubles, a triple, 2 homers, 3 steals and 6 RBI in five games; he would later play in Nippon Pro Baseball. He was third in the tournament in average and led in steals.
- People's Republic of China was the only winless team, though they only lost to the Dominican Republic by one run. 2B Jianzhong Lee (.353/.389/.353), C Wei Wang (.308/.357/.385) and 1B Guogang Yang (.353/.389/.353) led a team that hit only .212 with 9 runs in five games.
- Cuba led in average (.305), home runs (15) and runs (90, 31 more than anyone else) while finishing second to South Korea in ERA (2.14) as they won their 9th Gold in Cup history. Making the All-Star team were DH Cañizares (.412/.524/.792, 11 RBI), 2B Dueñas (.344/.361/.906, 5 HR, 9 R, 17 RBI), 3B Michel Enriquez (.457/.535/.743, 12 R) and P Ibar (2-0, 0.46, 24 K in 19 2/3 IP). Of the four, two have defected by 2007, one was banned from Cuban baseball for trying to defect and the other was banned for an attack on an umpire. Also hitting well were RF Amaury Casañas (.423/.464/.657) and SS Eduardo Paret (.323/.488/.613, 13 R) while Orelvis Avila (1-0, 0.00), Ifreidi Coss (2-0, 0.84), Yadel Martí (2-0, 1.50), Norge Vera (1-0, 1.42) and Rodríguez (1-0, 1.42, 11 K in 6 1/3 IP) all aided Ibar in excellent pitching performances.
- Dominican Republic only went 4-5 but won a couple key games in Phase 2 then got a break from the Panamanian disqualification to win their first Medal in an Intercontinental Cup in 21 years. Fabio Castro did not allow a run in 5 1/3 IP. Leading the offense was a former prospect, CF Jhensy Sandoval (.310/.375/.828, 4 HR, 11 RBI). SS Tony Pena Jr. (.294/.333/.471) and C Ronny Paulino (.226/.294/.548, 3 HR) were among the past or future major leaguers on the squad.
- Italy was outscored 77-29 in going 2-6. Igor Schiavetti (.296/.333/.406) made the All-Star team. William Lucena (0.90 ERA) led the staff while RF Claudio Liverziani (.286/.373/.536) paced the offense.
- Japan almost beat Cuba in the first phase (a 1-run loss) before fading away in Phase 2. They hit .300, third-best. LF Katsuaki Furuki hit .259/.286/.778 with 4 homers and 8 RBI and made the All-Star team. Other fine hitters included 2B Hirokazu Ibata (.400/.478/.400), 3B Munenori Kawasaki (.417/.563/.458), C Kunihiro Suzuki (.353/.421/.471), DH Fumitoshi Takano (.333/.429/.500) and RF Takashi Yoshiura (.321/.406/.464). The mound corps was led by Tetsuto Tomabechi (1-0, 1.04).
- Mexico avoided last place with a 1-4 record. Sergio Mora (1-0, 0.79) got their only win, beating Italy.
- Netherlands came close to advancing to Phase 2 with a 2-3 record and 22-26 run differential. CF Bryan Engelhardt (.429/.600/.571) led the offensive charge while P Patrick Beljaards (1-1, 0.73) made the All-Star team. LF Hensley Meulens batted .294/.429/.471.
- Panama earned Bronze with their offense before losing it to the positive testing for banned substances. They were second in average (.301), tied for second in homers (12), led in hits (109) and tied South Korea for second in runs (59). Their 2.45 ERA was third. 1B Earl Agnoly (.370/.452/.556), RF Roberto Kelly (.250/.368/.281), 2B Roberto Gutierrez (.267/.281/.467) and P Jorge Cortez (1-1, 9.39) produced mixed results on the field before their off-field results cost their team. Top performers included 3B Luis Iglesias (.389/.439/.583, 8 R, 10 RBI), C Carlos Munoz (.500/.519/.885, 7 2B), DH Sherman Obando (.269/.472/.423, 9 R), LF Jonathan Vega (.222/.243/.556, 4 HR), Roger Deago (2-0, 1.29) and Len Picota (1.80 ERA). Munoz was an All-Star.
- South Korea had a good offense, scoring 59 runs to tie Panama for second place. Their pitching, though, led the way, with a 1.70 team ERA, .44 better than runner-up Cuba. Their 119 batters struck out were 38 more than Cuban or Panamanian pitchers managed. They won their first Medal in an Intercontinental Cup in 17 years. CF Jin-young Lee (.333/.421/.455, 8 RBI) was their only All-Star. 1B Won-jin Jang (.344/.475/.500, 9 R), C In-kwon Kang (.400/.571/.450) and 3B Bum-ho Lee (.303/.381/.485) also provided offense. Only one pitcher had an ERA over 2.20 as Byong-yong Chei (1-0, 1.35, 11 K in 6 2/3 IP), Young-min Cho (0-1, 1.80), Yong-ho Choi (0-1, 1.42), Tae-hyon Chong (1-1, 2.18, 24 K), Ki-pyo Kim (2-0, 7 H, 19 K in 18 1/3 IP), Hei-chun Lee (1-1, 0.00, 12 K in 7 2/3 IP), Hyun-Seung Lee (0 ER in 4 IP) and Jung-kil Ma (1-0, 1.69, 18 K in 10 2/3 IP) all turned in excellent performances.
- Chinese Taipei fell from their 4-1 start to go 1-2 in Phase 2 and not finish in Medal contention. They had a 2.92 team ERA, tying the Dominicans for 4th place. Kuo-Ching Lee (1-0, 0.00, 3 H in 10 IP), Wei-Lun Pan (1 Sv, 1.42) and Chi-Hsien Ho (1-0, 1.42) had the lowest ERAs on the team. The offensive star was clearly All-Star 1B Feng-An Tsai, who hit .294/.333/.706 with 4 home runs and 11 RBI.
- Venezuela was 4-4 despite a 6.68 staff ERA. Adel Granadillo (1-0, 1.00) and Angel Tovar (no runs in 5 IP) were exceptions to the high ERAs. Top hitters were 1B Manuel Valera (.350/.381/.700), CF Germain Chirinos (.269/.406/.500) and RF Oleidis Basabes (.296/.406/.556, 7 R).
- MVP: Bárbaro Cañizares, Cuba (.412/.524/.792, 11 RBI)
- Outstanding Defensive Player: Dirk van 't Klooster, Netherlands (3 outfield assists)
- C: Carlos Munoz, Panama (.500/.519/.885, 7 2B)
- 1B: Feng-An Tsai, Taiwan (.294/.333/.706, 4 HR, 11 RBI)
- 2B: Yobal Dueñas, Cuba (.344/.361/.906, 5 HR, 9 R, 17 RBI
- SS: Igor Schiavetti, Italy (.296/.333/.406)
- 3B: Michel Enriquez, Cuba (.457/.535/.743, 12 R)
- OF: Daniel Matsumoto, Brazil (.450/.522/.950, 3 SB)
- OF: Jin-young Lee, South Korea (.333/.421/.455, 8 RBI)
- OF: Katsuaki Furuki, Japan (.259/.286/.778, 4 HR, 8 RBI)
- DH: Bárbaro Cañizares, Cuba (.412/.524/.792, 11 RBI)
- P: José Ibar, Cuba (2-0, 0.46, 24 K in 19 2/3 IP)
- P: Patrick Beljaards, Netherlands (1-1, 0.73)