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DeLand Red Hats
Minor league affiliations
Previous classesClass D
LeagueFlorida State League (1946–1954)
Previous leagues
Major league affiliations
Previous teams
Minor league titles
League titles 2 (1950, 1951)
Team data
Previous names
  • DeLand Red Hats (1939–1954)
  • DeLand Reds (1936–1938)
Previous parks
Conrad Park

The DeLand Red Hats were a minor-league baseball team in DeLand, Florida that played in the Florida State League (FSL) from 1936–1954. They played in Conrad Park, near Stetson University.

Early years

After the FSL was re-organized in 1936 the Red Hats were called simply the DeLand Reds and were affiliated with the Cincinnati Reds as a Class D team.[1] In 1938 they moved into the Chicago White Sox organization. In 1939 they were renamed the Red Hats, and featured many players who were to be Washington Senators, such as starting pitcher Mickey Haefner. As a result, the Senators made DeLand part of its minor-league organization in 1940. The club was unaffiliated the next season and, during World War II, was part of the Florida East Coast League, as the FSL ceased operations temporarily. The major-league St. Louis Browns used Conrad Park in 1942 for spring training, for only that year, but were not affiliated with the club otherwise. In fact, the Red Hats would not be affiliated with any major-league organization again, even after returning to the FSL in 1946.

1950s Champions

The biggest Red Hats star may have been Al Pirtle,[2] a career minor-leaguer and FSL star, whom they acquired in 1950. Pirtle never made the majors (or even out of Class D ball, playing his entire seven-year career in the FSL, despite a career .333 batting average),[3] but his presence heralded a four-year run of success for the club. The team in 1950 posted a record of 82-57 while Pirtle batted .345 and had 38 doubles.[4] After several playoff disappointments, they finally won their first FSL championship that year. They came back in 1951 even stronger, winning 90 games and a second FSL title.[4] Now clearly the best team in the league, 1952 was their best year statistically, with a terrific 95-40 (.703) record.[5] However, they lost the first playoff round and would not three-peat. In 1953 they won a more modest 78 games, but made it all the way to the FSL championship again. As it happened they would not win their third title, losing to the Daytona Beach Islanders.

1954 would prove to be the final season for the Red Hats. Attendance was down all across the FSL, a trend attributed to television,[6] and the DeLand club was relocated to Gainesville and changed their name.

The ballpark

DeLand teams played at Conrad Park. The ballpark was also home of several other clubs, notably the Sun Caps and the Suns, the Stetson University Hatters, and the Daytona Cubs. The original Conrad Park was razed in 1998 and the site today is home to Melching Field at Conrad Park.

Notable alumni

Year by year results

Season Name Record Notes
1936 Reds 60-80 First season of "new" FSL; became Reds minor-league affiliate
1937 Reds 79-61 Made playoffs, lost first round
1938 Reds 54-86 White Sox minor-league affiliate for one season
1939 Red Hats 69-69 Independent team ("co-op"); made playoffs, lost first round
1940 Red Hats ??? Washington Senators minor-league affiliate for one season
1941 Red Hats 78-47 Made playoffs, lost in second round (championship) to Leesburg Anglers
1942 Red Hats 13-13 FSL suspended operations in May, due to World War II
1943 Red Hats ??? Joined Florida East Coast League for duration of war
1944 Red Hats ???
1945 Red Hats ???
1946 Red Hats 68-68 Resumption of FSL; made playoffs, lost first round
1947 Red Hats 80-58 Made playoffs, lost first round
1948 Red Hats 50-90
1949 Red Hats 64-70
1950 Red Hats 82-57 FSL champions
1951 Red Hats 90-50 FSL champions
1952 Red Hats 95-40 Made playoffs, lost first round
1953 Red Hats 78-56 Made playoffs, lost in championship to Daytona Beach Islanders
1954 Red Hats 77-62 Team moves to Gainesville, Florida after season



  1. ^ "Conrad Park - Deland Florida - Former Home of the DeLand Red Hats". 2001-08-11. Retrieved 2012-10-27.
  2. ^ "Al Pirtle". Baseball in Wartime. Retrieved 2012-10-27.
  3. ^ "Al Pirtle Minor Leagues Statistics & History".
  4. ^ a b "Conrad Park - Deland Florida - Former Home of the DeLand Red Hats". 2001-08-11. Retrieved 2012-10-27.
  5. ^ "Conrad Park - Deland Florida - Former Home of the DeLand Red Hats". 2001-08-11. Retrieved 2012-10-27.
  6. ^ "Conrad Park - Deland Florida - Former Home of the DeLand Red Hats". 2001-08-11. Retrieved 2012-10-27.
  7. ^ "Conrad Park - Deland Florida - Former Home of the DeLand Red Hats". 2001-08-11. Retrieved 2012-10-27.