1972 Amateur World Series
The 1972 Amateur World Series was the 20th Amateur World Series. It was held from November 15 through December 5, 1972 in Managua, Nicaragua. It was the first Amateur World Series to feature Asian teams as the "World" part became more apt - four continents were now covered, with only Australia and Africa not yet included. 16 teams played, a new high to that point. It would be over 30 years until the field expanded beyond that.
Cuba won Gold for the 6th straight Series (excluding 1965, which they bypassed). They went 14-1, losing only to host Nicaragua (2-0). On the final day of the Series, Cuba beat the All-Stars from all the other nations, 6-0, behind a 8-hit whitewash from Braudilio Vinent. Servio Borges managed the team. All-Star OF Wilfredo Sánchez (.414) led the tourney in runs (22), hits (29) and tied for the most triples (3). All-Star OF Armando Capiró (.377) tied for the most triples (3) and led with 21 RBI. All-Star 2B Félix Isasi (.345) led with 8 doubles. Rodolfo Puente was the All-Star SS, hitting .310. Vinent led the staff at 4-0, 0.62 while Orlando Figueredo (3-0, 0.86) and José Huelga (3-1, 0.79) provided excellent support.
United States won Silver at 13-2, losing only to Cuba and Japan. Jay Smith and Richard A. Smith both won 4 games to tie Vinent for the lead. Manuel Estrada (who would go on to spend almost a decade at AAA without making the majors for a game) tied for the most triples (3). Despite their success, they had no All-Stars.
Nicaragua won Bronze, going 13-2 as a productive host. They only lost to the USA and Japan. They included future big leaguer Tony Chevez. Julio Juárez was the All-Star RHP and Calixto Vargas was the All-Star at 1B.
Japan showed that Asia belonged in the tourney, going 11-4 to finish 4th. Masaru Oba led all players in steals (4) and average (.415). Zengo Ikeda led in ERA (0.00) and was the All-Star LHP. Yuji Nakamura was also an All-Star, at C.
Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Chinese Taipei tied for 6th, all with 9-6 marks. Maney Cabreja (.375) of the Dominicans was named the All-Star 3B. Shing-Ming Tan of Taiwan led in strikeouts (53) and innings (51 1/3). Puerto Rico was managed by Roberto Clemente (only weeks prior to his death) and featured a no-hitter by Sandalio Quinonez against Costa Rica. Luis Mercado was an All-Star outfielder.
Canada finished 9th at 8-7.
Italy was 15th at 3-12.
Germany was last at 0-15, playing in their first Amateur World Series. Their closest loss was 4-0 to Puerto Rico.