The Sarasota Reds were a professional minor league baseball team, located in Sarasota, Florida, as a member of the Florida State League. However team originally started play in Sarasota as the Sarasota White Sox in 1989. They remained in the city for the next 21 seasons, going through a series of name changes due to their affiliation changes. They were known as the White Sox from 1989–1993, as the Sarasota Red Sox from 1994–2004, and the Reds from 2004–2009. In Sarasota, the team played in Payne Park (1989) and then Ed Smith Stadium (1990–2009). They won two division championships, in 1989 and 1992, and made playoff appearances in 1989, 1991, 1992, 1994, and 2007.
|Minor league affiliations|
|League||Florida State League|
|Major league affiliations|
|Minor league titles|
|Division titles||2 (1989, 1992)|
However the roots of the Reds can be traced back, even further, to the Tampa Tarpons. In the 1980s rumors arose that a major league team would come to Tampa, which would threaten the viability of the Tarpons and other minor league teams in the Tampa Bay Area. In 1988 the Chicago White Sox replaced Cincinnati as the Tarpons' affiliate, launching murmurs that the White Sox would themselves relocate to the area. Fearing his team would soon be displaced, in 1989 Tarpons owner Mitchell Mick sold his franchise to the White Sox, who moved it to Sarasota, Florida as the Sarasota White Sox.
The team's Sarasota era produced many notable player who would go on to play in majors. Bo Jackson, Mike LaValliere, Dave Stieb, Hall of Famer Frank Thomas and Bob Wickman all played for the Sarasota White Sox. Meanwhile, Stan Belinda, David Eckstein, Nomar Garciaparra, Byung-hyun Kim, Jeff Suppan, Dustin Pedroia, Jonathan Papelbon, and Kevin Youkilis were alumni of the Sarasota Red Sox. The Sarasota Reds also produced many notable major league players such as Jay Bruce, Johnny Cueto, Joey Votto, Chris Heisey, and Drew Stubbs.
After the Reds' spring-training departure from Florida's Grapefruit League to Arizona's Cactus League in 2009, the Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates did an "affiliate-swap". The Pirates took over the Sarasota Reds, while the Reds became the parent club of the Pirates' former Class A-Advanced affiliate, the Lynchburg Hillcats of the Carolina League. The Pittsburgh Pirates have had their spring training facilities based in Bradenton, Florida since in 1969, when the city met with Pirates' general manager Joe Brown and owner John W. Galbreath and both sides agreed to a lease of 40 years, with an option for another 40 years. On November 10, 2009, baseball officials voted to allow the Pirates to purchase and uproot the Sarasota Reds. The Pirates moved the team to Bradenton, where they were renamed the Bradenton Marauders. The Marauders became the first Florida State League team located in Bradenton since the Bradenton Growers folded in 1926.
Logos and uniformsEdit
The Sarasota teams' names, logos and team colors were all closely associated with each's parent club. For example, the logos for Sarasota White Sox, Red Sox and Reds were just slightly altered versions of the parent club logos. However, there were attempts to allow some of these teams to find their own unique identities. In 2000, the Sarasota Red Sox introduced their mascot Gordy the Gecko. The Red Sox front office felt that since the team was based in Florida, its mascot should be reflective to the area. Soon Gordy found his way on to the team's caps as an alternate logo.
|Sarasota White Sox (Florida State League)|
|1989||79–57||.581||1st FSL West||Lost in 1st round|
|1990||63–75||.457||3rd FSL West||Did not qualify|
|1991||75–56||.573||2nd FSL West||Lost in 1st round|
|1992||50–19||.725||1st FSL West||Lost in 1st round|
|1993||77–57||.575||2nd FSL West||Did not Qualify|
|Totals||344–264||–||–||0 FSL Championships|
|Sarasota Red Sox (Florida State League)|
|1994||69–64||.519||5th FSL West||Did not Qualify|
|1995||65–68||.489||5th FSL West||Did not Qualify|
|1996||67–69||.493||6th FSL West||Did not Qualify|
|1997||63–76||.453||7th FSL West||Did not Qualify|
|1998||76–61||.555||4th FSL West||Did not Qualify|
|1999||67–72||.482||6th FSL West||Did not Qualify|
|2000||60–79||.432||?th FSL West||Did not Qualify|
|2001||54–83||.394||6th FSL West||Did not Qualify|
|2002||62–74||.456||5th FSL West||Did not Qualify|
|2003||63–67||.485||5th FSL West||Did not Qualify|
|2004||75–61||.551||2nd FSL West||Did not Qualify|
|Totals||721–764||–||–||0 FSL Championships|
|Sarasota Reds (Florida State League)|
|2005||65–67||.492||9th FSL West||Did not Qualify|
|2006||66–73||.475||6th FSL West||Did not Qualify|
|2007||81–59||.579||3rd FSL West||Lost in Semi-Finals|
|2008||60–78||.435||6th FSL West||Did not Qualify|
|2009||54–83||.394||6th FSL West||Did not Qualify|
|Totals||326–360||–||–||0 FSL Championships|
- Fry, Darrell (July 2, 1988). "Tarpons, Cards react differently to White Sox Series: fsl". St. Petersburg Times.
- "Tampa Tarpons sold, moving to Sarasota". St. Petersburg Times. November 19, 1988. p. 5.C. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
- "Pittsburgh Pirates Unveil Name and Logo For New Bradenton Florida State League Team" (PDF). Pirates News Release. December 15, 2009. Retrieved April 14, 2010.
- Gordon, Jabbo (February 18, 1970). "The History of Baseball in Florida and Manatee County" (PDF). The Manatee County Historical Society. Retrieved February 15, 2012.[permanent dead link]
- Biertempfel, Rob (October 30, 2009). "Pirates make another trade". The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved February 3, 2012.
- Mannix, Vin (April 8, 2010). "Bradentown Growers were Marauders' forerunners". Bradenton Herald. Retrieved January 30, 2012.
- Grimes, David (July 28, 2001). "H-T Columnist Agrees to Play mascot for Evening". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. p. E1-E2.