Fort Lauderdale Red Sox
The Fort Lauderdale Red Sox was the name of a Class A minor league baseball franchise based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, that existed for the 1993 season. It was owned and operated by the Boston Red Sox, played at Fort Lauderdale Stadium, and was a member of the Florida State League (FSL).
The franchise shifted from Winter Haven, Florida, after the 1992 season when the Red Sox moved their spring training and Florida headquarters from Winter Haven to Fort Myers, Florida. The team had operated the Winter Haven Red Sox in the Polk County city since 1969. When the spring training relationship with Winter Haven ended, Boston tried to move its FSL franchise to its new spring training stadium, Fort Myers' City of Palms Park, but the shift was blocked by the established Fort Myers Miracle, a Minnesota Twins FSL affiliate that plays in nearby Hammond Stadium.
While the Red Sox and the Miracle ownership tried to resolve the impasse, Boston needed a 1993 venue for its displaced Winter Haven franchise. Fort Lauderdale Stadium was available, because its longtime tenants, the New York Yankees, had vacated it while in the process of moving their training base and Florida State League club to Tampa.
The Red Sox' one year in Fort Lauderdale was an artistic and economic disappointment. The team, managed by DeMarlo Hale (later the Red Sox' bench coach), compiled the worst record in the FSL at 46–85 (.351), 32½ games out of first place. It drew 28,000 fans, second last in the league and almost 73,000 fans fewer than the 1992 Fort Lauderdale Yankees. (It still out-paced the 1992 Winter Haven Red Sox entry, which attracted only 16,000 fans in its lame-duck season). Of the 40-plus players who suited up for the Fort Lauderdale Red Sox, only Shayne Bennett, Alex Delgado, Peter Hoy, Ryan McGuire and Lou Merloni would see Major League service.
As events turned out, the Red Sox/Miracle territorial dispute never permitted Boston to place its FSL team in Fort Myers. Instead, Boston moved the Fort Lauderdale Red Sox to Sarasota, Florida — ironically a former longtime BoSox spring training site — in 1994 and operated the Sarasota Red Sox there for eleven seasons before departing the Florida State League in 2005. The Red Sox' parent company, Fenway Sports Group, now owns and operates its own High Class A farm club, the Salem Red Sox, in the Carolina League.
- Florida State League Log, May 1, 2008
- Lloyd Johnson and Miles Wolff, eds., The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball, 3d edition. Durham, North Carolina: Baseball America, 2007