Winter Haven Red Sox

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Winter Haven Red Sox
(1966-1967, 1969-1992)
Winter Haven, Florida
  • Class A-Advanced (1990-1992)
  • Class A (1966-1989)
Minor league affiliations
League Florida State League
Major league affiliations
Minor league titles
League titles 1 (1979)
Team data
Previous names
  • Winter Haven Red Sox (1969-1992)
  • Winter Haven Mets (1967)
  • Winter Haven Sun Sox (1966)
  • Deerfield Beach Sun Sox (1966)
Previous parks
Chain of Lakes Park

The Winter Haven Red Sox were a minor league baseball team in the Florida State League, based in Winter Haven, Florida. However the team began life in Deerfield Beach, Florida, as the Deerfield Beach Sun Sox, a Class-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. However the team moved in the middle of their inaugural season, on June 27, 1966, to Winter Haven becoming the Winter Haven Sun Sox. The team was managed by Don Bacon and Bruce Andrew and had a 55-83 record overall.[1][2]

In 1967, the Sun Sox were renamed the Winter Haven Mets after their new affiliate, the New York Mets. The Mets posted a 94-46, but were defeated by the St. Petersburg Cardinals for the western division title by two and a half games. Managed by Pete Pavlick, Winter Haven outscored their opponents 545-390 and allowed the fewest runs in the league. All-Stars were 1B Mike Jorgensen (.295/~.353/.407, 19 steals in 22 tries) and pitcher Ron Paul (17-4, 1.74), who was third in the league in ERA and led in wins. Finishing fifth in ERA was Ed Figueroa (12-5, 2.05). Other hurlers included Dick Noe (13-7, 1.37), Steve Renko (8-1, 1.61), Dennis Musgraves (6-3, 1.87) and Jerry Bark (13-5, 2.01). The moundsman who went on to the one of the most storied careers, was Nolan Ryan (one run in four innings, five Ks, one hit, two walks, two wild pitches). Renko even played some first base, hitting .218/~.290/.365 with 8 homers to tie for the team lead with OF Jerry Morales (.248/~.332/.373, 27 steals in 31 tries, 14 triples). The prominent prospect was cather Steve Chilcott, the #1 draft pick from 1966. He hit .290/~.370/.467 and led FSL catchers in fielding (.991). He would have ranked 4th in the league in average had he been among the qualifiers. Finally oufielder Ken Singleton hit .277/~.454/.388 with 26 steals and led the FSL with 87 walks in only 102 games.

The Winter Haven Mets only existed one year before they were renamed the Winter Haven Red Sox in 1969 and became an affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, until folding in 1992.

Year-by-year record[edit]

Year Record Finish Manager Playoffs
1966 55-83 8th Don Bacon & Bruce Andrew
1967 94-46 2nd Pete Pavlick
1969 76-53 3rd Rac Slider
1970 61-71 7th John K. Butler
1971 58-79 10th John K. Butler
1972 61-70 10th John K. Butler
1973 50-94 10th Al Lehrer
1974 59-71 6th (t) Rac Slider
1975 57-70 5th (t) Rac Slider
1976 65-76 6th Rac Slider
1977 70-66 5th Rac Slider
1978 82-56 2nd Rac Slider
1979 79-58 2nd Rac Slider League Champs
1980 60-80 10th Rac Slider
1981 62-77 9th Rac Slider
1982 59-74 8th Tom Kotchman
1983 49-83 9th Tom Kotchman
1984 70-74 8th Dave Holt
1985 71-68 7th Dave Holt
1986 80-47 2nd Dave Holt Lost in 1st round
1987 67-71 8th Doug Camilli
1988 45-94 14th Doug Camilli
1989 52-87 13th Dave Holt
1990 40-94 14th Dave Holt
1991 43-85 14th Mike Verdi
1992 51-86 13th Felix Maldonado