Tuesday, May 12, 2015

1965 World Baseball Cup

Mexico would host the 1965 version of the tournament. Both groups would take place in and around the capital of Mexico city. But no one was certain to make it other than the Mexican team. This version of qualifying was the first to include European teams. The IBF held European championships to judge the skill in Europe. The Dutch and Italians dominated the competitions, and Spain got a bid to join the big qualifying, despite only making it once in 2013. The Japanese, still without a regional opponent just yet, would play in the new "World" division. Just like every one imagined, they dominated the group, with the Dutch advancing to the playoffs against Canada and Colombia. Canada stopped the teams trying to make a bid to their first tournament, making the same 8 teams as 1961 moving on to Mexico.

Group A would play in Mexico City. Puerto Rico won the group. The home team rallied around great pitching to advance to their first knockout stage. The Americans had a lot of support in the much smaller stadium in Aguascalientes. They advanced to another knockout round. The biggest upset may have been a win for the Venezuelans over Japan. Many people say that this was the most competitive the tournament has ever been. Mexico couldn't stop the American bats in the semi final. The Puerto Ricans won and set up a rematch of 1961. Roberto Clemente lead Puerto Rico in a 5 run 4th inning, winning their second straight tournament over the USA.

There were 3 teams that changed their looks. Canada introduced the current flag in February of 1965, and the Canadian Baseball Association made a quick change to the C logo on the uniforms. In anticipation of hosting the tournament. The infamous "Mexcellent" font used in the 1968 Olympics, and 1970 World Cup. Finally, Puerto Rico updated their uniforms slightly to match the Pirates' uniforms that Clemente wore at the time. Finally, the USA went with a vest uniform version of their previous uniforms in anticipation for a warm Mexican climate.

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