Winter Haven Red Sox
|Winter Haven Red Sox|
Winter Haven, Florida
|Minor league affiliations|
|League||Florida State League|
|Major league affiliations|
|Minor league titles|
|League titles||1 (1979)|
|Chain of Lakes Park|
The franchise began in 1966 in Deerfield Beach, Florida, as the Deerfield Beach Sun Sox, a Class-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. However, on June 27, 1966, the team moved to Winter Haven becoming the Winter Haven Sun Sox. It was the city's first entry in Organized Baseball since the 1919 Bartow Polkers played part of their home schedule in Winter Haven. The Sun Sox were managed by Don Bacon and Bruce Andrew and had a 55–83 record overall.
In 1967, the Sun Sox were renamed the Winter Haven Mets after their new parent club, the New York Mets. The Mets posted a stellar 94–46 record, but were defeated by the St. Petersburg Cardinals for the western division title by two and a half games. Nolan Ryan, then 20, pitched for the 1967 team, appearing in one game as a starting pitcher and allowing one hit and one earned run in four innings pitched, with five strikeouts. It was Ryan's last year in the minors before he began his Baseball Hall of Fame big-league career.
The Mets left Winter Haven after only a single season, then the franchise lay dormant during 1968. In 1969, the Boston Red Sox, who had established their spring training home in Winter Haven in 1966, took over the Florida State League franchise. The Winter Haven Red Sox then played for the next 24 consecutive seasons. In 1983, 16 years after Ryan's one-game stint, Roger Clemens began his pro career with Winter Haven, winning three of four decisions in four starts, and striking out 36 in 29 innings pitched.
The Winter Haven Red Sox effectively folded after the 1992 season, when, after 27 years, the parent Red Sox moved their spring headquarters to Fort Myers and their FSL affiliate to Fort Lauderdale. Although the Cleveland Indians replaced the Red Sox as Winter Haven's spring training tenants from 1993 through 2008, they never revived an FSL franchise for the city.
Baseball Hall of Fame alumniEdit
- Brady Anderson (1986) 3 x MLB All-Star
- Oil Can Boyd (1981)
- Ellis Burks (1984) 2 x MLB All-Star
- Rick Burleson (1970) 4 x MLB All-Star
- Roger Clemens (1983) 1986 AL Most Valuable Player, 7 x Cy Young Award
- Scott Hatteberg (1991)
- Bruce Hurst (1977) MLB All-Star
- Bob Ojeda (1979)
- Ben Oglivie (1969) 1980 AL Home Run Leader
- Paul Quantrill (1990) MLB All-Star
- Ken Singleton (1967) 3 x MLB All-Star
- Bob Stanley (1975, 1988) 2 x MLB All-Star
|1966||55-83||8th||Don Bacon & Bruce Andrew|
|1970||61-71||7th||John K. Butler|
|1974||59-71||6th (t)||Rac Slider|
|1986||80-47||2nd||Lost in 1st round|