The 1990 Baseball World Cup was played in Edmonton, Canada from August 4 through August 19, 1990. The 31st Baseball World Cup, it presented no surprises as the Cuban national team won for the 15th consecutive appearance, as they ran their streak to four decades. The Nicaraguan national team won their 5th silver medal, though their first since 1974, and the South Korean national team got a medal for the second time in the past three tournaments. Team USA, which almost won the 1988 Baseball World Cup, griped about how they couldn't compete with young college players, which they would complain about for the next decade; when they switched to pros in the 21st Century, results did not improve significantly, though. One complaint this year was the unusual double round of round-robins wherein 8 of 12 teams made it to round two but the round 1 results were then ignored in determining the finals - so 7-1 Puerto Rico only played in the Bronze Medal game. On the other hand, this setup eliminated the usual quarterfinals/semifinals/finals arrangement in which a quarterfinals loss knocks a team into the loser's bracket and out of contention for a medal. One other plus was that the finals was not a winner-take-all affair but rather a best-of-3.
First Round-Robin Results
Second Round-Robin Results
All Star Team
- Catcher - Pedro Rodriguez, Cuba (.429/.425/.743, 11 R)
- 1B - Lourdes Gourriel, Cuba (.463/.522/.902, 4 HR, 12 R, 19 RBI)
- 2B - Julio Medina, Nicaragua (.395/.413/.651, 8 R, 8 RBI)
- SS - German Mesa, Cuba (.475/.488/.900, 17 R, 4 SB)
- 3B - Omar Linares, Cuba (.512/.553/1.098, 6 HR, 20 R, 18 RBI)
- OF - Shinichi Sato, Japan (.556/.590/.889, 14 RBI); Angel Morales, Puerto Rico (.417/.463/.556, 8 R, 10 RBI); Rikkert Faneyte, Netherlands (.419/.514/.871, 3 HR, 9 R, 9 RBI, 4 SB)
- DH - Orestes Kindelan, Cuba (.581/.617/1.372, 9 HR, 23 R, 25 RBI)
- P - Omar Ajete, Cuba (2-0, 1.53, 23 K in 17 2/3 IP); Chien-Fu Kuo Lee, Taiwan (4-0, 3.24, 24 K in 33 1/3 IP)
- Canada salvaged a 8th place finish despite a 2-7 record by avoiding Pool E. David Krug (1-1, 4.35) led an unexceptional staff while DH Randall Curran (.471/.538/.824) clearly paced the offense. The only future big leaguer for the home team was CF Rob Butler, in his second Cup. Butler hit .355/.355/.581.
- Cuba kept up their winning ways with no problem, winning all 10 games by at least four runs. They hit .444 as a team with 37 homers (more than 3 times number 2 USA), 139 runs (53 more than #2 USA) and a 1.50 ERA, 1.39 below runner-up Puerto Rico. Among the stars were RF Luis Casanova (.462/.556/1.154, 8 RBI, 3 HR in 5 games), 1B Lourdes Gourriel (.463/.522/.902, 12 R, 19 RBI, 4 HR), DH Orestes Kindelan (.581/.617/1.372, 23 R, 7 2B, 9 HR, 25 RBI in 10 games for a Triple Crown), 3B Omar Linares (.512/.553/1.098, 6 HR, 20 R, 18 RBI), SS German Mesa (.475/.488/.900, 17 R, 4 SB), CF Victor Mesa (.390/.419/.756, 10 R, 15 RBI), RF Ermidelio Urrutia (.419/.455/.839, 10 R, 9 RBI in 8 G), C Pedro Rodriguez (.429/.425/.743, 11 R), Euclides Rojas (1-0, 1 Sv, 0 R, 2 H in 7 IP), Lazaro Valle (11 H in 21 IP, 3-0, 0.00) and Osvaldo Fernandez (2-0, 0.75, 21 K in 12 IP). Their least-used pitcher was Orlando (El Duque) Hernandez (0 R in 2 IP, 4 K), showing the depth of the staff.
- Italy finished 10th at 3-5. The bright spot was probably a 8-7 round-robin win over the Silver Medalists from Nicaragua. The staff had a 8.31 ERA but as with Cuba, a Valle shone, with Fulvio Valle (1-0, 1.31) doing very well in 3 games, finishing third in ERA. DH/C Roberto Bianchi led the hitters with a .417/.563/.667 batting line.
- Japan was third in runs (74) and ERA (4.56) yet only finished 5th overall with their 5-3 record. Eiichi Ishidaria (2-0, 2.55) was their top pitcher while All-Star OF Shinichi Sato (.556/.590/.889, 14 RBI) paced the offense. Sato finished second to Cuba's Kindelan in average.
- Mexico was doomed by a 9.09 ERA as they finished 2-6 and in 11th place, ahead of only Venezuela.
- Netherlands finished 3-5 and at the top of the Pool E teams for 9th overall. LF Mike Crouwel hit .370/.471/.704 with 8 runs and 8 RBI in 8 games, but the clear star was All-Star CF Rikkert Faneyte, who batted .419/.514/.871 with 9 runs, 5 doubles, 3 home runs, 4 steals and 9 RBI. He also pitched four scoreless innings and got their lone save.
- Nicaragua was just 5-5, but benefited greatly from the format to finish with a Silver Medal. Radbony Sanchez (1-1, 1 Sv, 1.56) was their top pitcher. At the plate, the top performer was All-Star 2B Julio Medina (.395/.413/.651, 8 R, 8 RBI)
- Puerto Rico went 7-2 but finished 4th thanks to the format. They were 4th with 52 runs and second in ERA (2.89). 1B Efrain Garcia (.351/.385/.568, 7 RBI), All-Star CF Angel Morales (.417/.463/.556, 8 R, 10 RBI) and DH Helson Rodriguez (.371/.385/.714, 3 HR, 11 RBI) paced the offense. Headlining a fine staff was Jesus I. Feliciano (1-0, 0.56).
- South Korea overcame a 26-1 rout by Cuba in the round-robin to win a Bronze despite a 5-4 overall mark. A 5.18 staff ERA was 4th in a high-scoring year, with Min-tae Chung (3-1, 1 Sv, 2.02, a Cup-high 29 K) clearly the ace. RF Young-jin Chong hit .300/.417/.500 as their top hitter.
- Chinese Taipei might have finished 6th at 4-5 but they had the MVP, pitcher Chien-Fu Kuo Lee (4-0, 3.24, 24 K in 33 1/3 IP), the tourney leader in wins. They needed him as the rest of the staff had a 0-5, 12.27 record; that's why Kuo Lee worked almost half of their 70 innings. SS Kuo-Chong Lo batted .441/.486/.706 with 8 runs to lead the attack.
- United States not only had to make do with their usual assortment of freshmen and sophomores, but many top underclassmen opted out, such as Jeffrey Hammonds, Mike Kelly and Calvin Murray. Jim Morris still wound up with a team comprised primarily of future big leaguers. Their .388 average, 12 home runs and 86 runs were all second to Cuba, but the pitching didn't hold up, ensuring a 5-4, 7th place finish in the second division. Philip Stidman (2.61 ERA in 7 games) was the most effective hurler as Aaron Sele (1-1, 3.95), Joey Hamilton (0-1, 9.64) and Paul Byrd (1-0, 5.11) were among those who weren't overly successful. At the plate, the top threats were DH David McCarty (.448/.471/.621, 9 RBI), SS/2B Chris Gomez (.500/.526/.806, 11 R, 11 RBI), 2B/3B Brent Gates (.500/.558/.947, 10 R, 11 RBI), RF Darren Bragg (.448/.485/.586, 9 R) and walk-on 3B Jorge Fabregas (.500/.487/.583, 8 RBI).
- Venezuela finished last at 1-7, outscored 63-33, not as bad as some last-place teams in Cup history. Their only win came 10-9 over the Netherlands. OF Richart Villegas (.429/.452/.672) was one bright spot.
Sources: 1991 Baseball Almanac, IBAF website