Photographs courtesy of
Halls Nostalgia
1948 brought DeLand back down to the basement as the Red Hats finished 40 games under .500 losing 90 games. Things began to turn around in 1949 as they came within 6 games of .500 finishing at 64-70. Neither year produced any noteworthy performances, but they seemed to be on the right track heading northwards again. They were hoping that 1951 would provide a solid foundation to build on and get back in the playoffs again (so they could lose again in the first round). 1951 brought DeLand some of the best talents that they had seen in recent years. 3 players would hit above .340 for the season and one would take Chuck Aleno's home run record away. Herbert McLeod (33 2B, 13 3B, 4 HR, .354) was the team's best hitter, while Linnel Roberts, who had been the best player of the bad teams of 2 years past, rose to the occasion with 38 doubles, 11 triples and 3 homers while batting .345. The star of the team however was Al Pirtle. Pirtle slammed 41 doubles, 12 triples and a Red Hats record 11 Homers while batting an impressive .341. Along with the big 3, Donald Allen (28 2B, 19 3B, 7 HR, .313) took the all time triples lead while Kenneth Braeseke (20 2B, .332) had a fine year as well. Eduardo Saez (17-9, 3.63) and Raul Villamea (18-11, 4.46) provided some strong pitching and the Red Hats suddenly looked like they had a real solid team. Was it enough to get past the 1st round? Actually yes it was. Finishing the season at 82-57 the Red Hats did make it to the 2nd round for only the second time in their history... and believe it or not... they won that too!