1995 Intercontinental Cup
The 1995 Intercontinental Cup was the 12th Intercontinental Cup and the 7th in a row won by the Cuban national team. It was held in Havana from October 26 through November 9, 1995. Future major leaguers included Oswaldo Mairena, Luis Figueroa, Jose Contreras, Orlando Hernandez, Rolando Arrojo and Jorge Toca; others went on to play in the top leagues in Cuba, Japan and South Korea.
- Brazil went 2-3 to tie for third in the six-team Pool A, with wins over Taiwan and Spain. They were outscored, 34-27. Top performers were Henrique Tamaki (0-1, 0.90), CF Thiago Ojima (.438/.444/.688, 5 RBI, 4 2B) and 1B-2B Ronaldo Ono (.444/.500/.778, 5 R). Rodolfo Puente was their manager.
- Cuba went 8-0 to take the Gold with a 68-28 run differential. They were managed by Jorge Fuentes. Among the many players chipping in were CF José Estrada (.410/.452/.564, 8 R, 8 RBI), C Alberto Hernández (.375/.400/.667, Opp SB 3-9), RF Rey Isaac (.448/.515/.793, 10 R, 8 RBI), DH Orestes Kindelan (.314/.390/.543), 3B Omar Linares (.459/.500/.892, 9 R, 5 2B, 3 HR), José Contreras (0 R in 5 IP), Pedro Luis Lazo (1-0, 1.23), Omar Luis (3-0, 0.86, 35 K in 21 IP) and Lázaro Valle (1-0, 2.84). Luis led the event in both strikeouts and wins, while placing 4th in ERA, winning the Intercontinental Cup MVP award. Linares, Isaac and Estrada also were picked as All-stars.
- Italy beat out only Mexico in finishing 1-4, tied for last in Pool B. They were outscored 38-16 under manager Silvano Ambrosioni. The offense hit a combined .184/.255/.320. Among the few bright spots at the plate were LF Roberto De Franceschi (.294/.294/.529, 5 RBI) and RF Claudio Liverziani (.214/.421/.643, 5 BB). Rolando Cretis (1-1, 3.00) got their only win.
- Japan was managed by Katsuji Kawashima. They had a better run differential than Cuba (82-20) while going 7-2 and settling for the Silver Medal. The offense was astoundingly deep with utility man Koichi Isobe (8 for 15, 2 BB, HR), 2B Naoki Matsumoto (.364/.432/.606, 10 R), All-Star 1B Nobuhiko Matsunaka (.371/.450/.714, 8 R, 13 RBI, 3 HR), SS Masahiro Nojima (.480/.519/.520), All-Star C Hideaki Okubo (.478/.625/.696, 7 BB, 9 R), All-Star OF Yasuyuki Saigo (.500/.606/.667), LF-DH Tomoaki Sato (.278/.409/.611, 6 RBI), RF Takayuki Takabayashi (.400/.405/.629, 10 R, 8 RBI), CF Yoshitomo Tani (.333/.366/.615, 11 R, 8 RBI, 3 SB) and 3B Hiroyuki Watanabe (.348/.500/.696, 10 RBI). Matsunaka led the event in RBI and Saigo, Nojima and Okubo were 3-4-5 in average. As a team, Japan batted .374/.458/.607. The pitching was pretty darned good too with Naoto Adacchi (2-0, 0.96, 4 H in 9 1/3 IP), Hitoshi Ono (1-0, 1.29, 1 H in 7 IP, 9 K) and Masanori Sugiura (1-1, 2.04, 18 K). Both losses came to Japan, by one run in the semifinals and 4-1 in the finale.
- Mexico was 1-4, beating only South Africa, to tie for last in Pool B. Sergio Robles was the skipper. They were outscored, 37-13. Their top offensive performer was 3B Jose Contreras (.471/.526/.647) as they hit .224/.283/.299 as a squad. Leon Heasequi (0--1, 2.16) was their only effective hurler with more than one appearance; the team ERA was 7.51.
- Netherlands was 2-3 under manager Boudewijn Maat, beating Spain and Brazil to tie for third in Pool A. They had a 40-33 run differential. CF Jeffrey Cranston (.591/.625/.773) led the tournament in average while LF Adonis Kemp (.417/.533/.583) was second in steals (5) and SS Evert-Jan 't Hoen (.273/.333/1.091) tied for second with three homers. Also hitting well was DH Edsel Martis (.353/.353/.706). The pitching was not as sharp as the hitting with Danny Wout (1-0, 0 R in 5 IP) and Rob Cordemans (1 R in 4 IP) standing out.
- Nicaragua earned the Bronze. After a 4-1 start, they dropped all three semifinal games but beat South Korea 10-5 in the Bronze Medal game. Their manager was Julio Sanchez. They outscored opponents by a 53-42 edge. They had the tourney's Best Defensive Player, 2B Norman Cardoze (.306/.359/.639, 3 HR, 10 RBI), who also was their lone All-Star. 1B Nemesio Porras put up a .387/.412/.613 line and was second in the Cup with 11 RBI. Top moundsmen were Fredy Corea (1-0, 2.12) and Luis Miranda (2-0, 3.00).
- Puerto Rico was 3-2, finishing third in Pool B behind Japan and South Korea and placing fifth overall. They were under the reigns of Rogelio Negron. They scored 38 runs and gave up 35. They had several big boppers including LF Juan Rodriguez (.350/.409/.950, 9 RBI, a tourney-best four homers), CF Omar Hernández (.500/.600/.786) and 3B Jose Perez (.462/.533/.923). Jorge Ortiz (1-0, 3.38) and Rafael Rivera (1-0, 0.00) were their best starters.
- South Africa was 1-4, with their win coming behind Glen Morris against Italy. Raymond Tew was their manager. They were outscored 56-23. C-RF Mark Holdsworth (.375/.412/.813, 5 R) and SS Michael Kruger (.429/.455/.667, 7 RBI) helped give the African entry some punch, but the staff had a 9.54 ERA. Servas Niemand (3.68) had their only ERA under 6.
- South Korea went 4-1 in round one but 1-3 afterwards to place 4th under skipper Byung-woo Kim. They scored 63 runs and gave up 49. Top hitters were 3B Pil-sun Kang (.333/.429/.722), LF Byung-kyu Lee (.333/.463/.606, 9 R, 3 HR, a tourney-best 7 steals without getting caught once) and All-Star DH Hee-sung Mun (.345/.457/.828, 3 HR). Dong-jin Choi (1-0, 2.45) had the only ERA under 4.5 on a poorly-performing staff. Young-soo Kim (1-2, 4.50) finished second in the event with 25 strikeouts. The worst ERA was put up by Min-han Son (1-1, 7.53), who would go on to a very good career. Mun was the only All-Star from a team that did not win a Medal.
- Spain went 0-5, the only winless team, and they were outscored by a hefty 67-5 score. Juan Perez managed the team. The team batting line read .144/.229/.203 with the best OPSes coming from SS Javier Zabalza (.214/.267/.429) and RF Miguel Zoroza (.273/.333/.273). The porous staff had a 15.31 ERA and a WHIP of 2.88. Only Raúl Arrondo (4.76) had an ERA under 9.
- Chinese Taipei went 2-3 with wins over the Netherlands and Spain, though they lost by only one run to both Nicaragua and Brazil as well. They tied for third in Pool A under manager Sheng-Ming Hsu. They outscored opponents, 29-20. The most effective hitters were C Chao-Hui Wu (.333/.375/.733, 8 RBI) and 2B Chin-Lung Yeh (.400/.571/.600, 5 R). Chun-Liang Wu (1-0, 1.35) and Shih-Chih Tsai (1-0, 0.00) led the staff.
- C: Hideaki Okubo, Japan (.478/.625/.696, 9 R)
- 1B: Nobuhiko Matsunaka, Japan (.371/.450/.714, 3 HR, 8 R, 13 RBI)
- 2B: Norman Cardoze, Nicaragua (.306/.359/.639, 3 HR, 10 RBI)
- SS: Masahiro Nojima, Japan (.480/.519/.520)
- 3B: Omar Linares, Cuba (.459/.500/.892, 3 HR, 9 R)
- OF: José Estrada, Cuba (.410/.452/.564, 8 R, 8 RBI)
- OF: Yasuyuki Saigo, Japan (.500/.606/.667)
- OF: Rey Isaac, Cuba (.448/.515/.793, 10 R, 8 RBI)
- DH: Hee-sung Mun, South Korea (.345/.457/.828, 3 HR)
- P: Omar Luis (3-0, 0.86, 35 K in 21 IP)
- P: Masanori Sugiura (1-1, 2.04, 18 K)