1944 Amateur World Series
The 1944 Amateur World Series was the 7th Amateur World Series and the second held outside of Cuba. It was held in Caracas, Venezuela, from October 12 through November 18, 1944, making it the longest Amateur World Series. The talent level was higher than it had been in 1943 but was marred by controversial umpiring decisions that led to a highly questionable winner.
In one contest, the Dominican Republic led Venezuela going into the 9th. In the top of the 9th, Venezuela rallied to take the lead. In the bottom of the frame, an umpire called the game due to darkness, canceling the 9th inning out and making the visitors the winner. As a punishment, this umpire was prevented from judging future games by Venezuelan officials.
Umpiring played a role in a Cuba-Venezuela game in the final phase of the event. After a Venezuelan player dropped the ball during a close play at first, a photographer came over and threw the ball to one of the Venezuelan players, leading to an out. Cuban manager Pipo de la Noval came out to protest and was told that photographers were allowed to intervene in play. As a result, Cuba withdrew from the competition and their remaining games were considered forfeits.
Due to more umpiring calls in favor of the home team, Mexico also withdrew from the tournament. Local officials called Venezuela the winner - they are still listed as such in all sources despite the circumstances underlying their victory.
- Colombia went 2-5 to finish 6th in the initial phase. José Araújo led the tourney with 4 steals.
- Cuba was 4-3 in the first phase and 2-1 in the final phase. They were announced as the Bronze Medal winners. The team included several future major leaguers including all but one of their pitchers - Angel Fleitas (.342), Sandy Consuegra (1-0, 1.00), Connie Marrero (2-1, 2.20), Izzy Leon (1-0, 2.70), Julio Moreno (2-2, 3.80) and Rogelio Martinez (0-1, 3.86).
- Dominican Republic went 4-3 in the first phase. They were managed by Horacio Martinez.
- Mexico had the best record in phase one (6-1) and went 2-1 in the second phase. They were listed as the Silver Medalists, a repeat of 1943. Bernardo López tied for the tourney lead with 2 home runs, as did Jesús Díaz. Francisco Alcaraz tied for the best record at 3-0.
- Nicaragua tied for last at 1-6. Stanley Cayasso tied for the lead in doubles (5).
- Panama was 5-2 in the first phase before a disappointing 0-3 final round. Leonard Roberts hit .478 to pace the competition.
- Puerto Rico tied for last at 1-6.
- Venezuela was 5-2 in phase one before their umpire-aided 2-1 final round for their controversial Gold Medal, their second ever. Guillermo Vento scored 14 runs to lead the competition; he also tied for the lead with 5 doubles. Antonio Brinez led in hits (19). Adolfredo González tied for the most home runs (2). Dalmiro Finol drove in 15 runs to lead the Series. Mirno Zuloaga tied for the best record at 3-0.
Also see 1944 Amateur World Series (Rosters)