Photographs courtesy of
Halls Nostalgia
Jesse Cade returned in 1953 hoping to keep the glory going just a little longer. While not a record breaker, Cade's 1953 campaign was certainly a successful one as he batted .351 with 26 doubles, 14 triples and 4 homers. Lamar Fidler also tied Al Pirtle's 2 time homer record of 11. Linnel Roberts however was promoted to class B Wichita Falls as was a lot of other talent from the previous two seasons. James Vickery tried to pick up the slack on the mound going 22-9 with a 2.23 ERA and James Clarich went 19-15 with a 3.28. While the Red Hats were strong, they wouldn't live up to the promise of the previous three seasons. They finished the year at a very respectable 78-56 and were off to the playoffs for the 4th year in a row. Expecting to lose in the first round, DeLand shocked everyone and made it through. Was this their chance to bring Championship #3 home to Conrad Park? Nope. The Daytona Beach Islanders were going to take the title back to City Island Park instead (today... Jackie Robinson Park). Jesse Cade came back for a 3rd season in 1954 and was still excellent hitting 27 doubles, 11 triples, and 4 homers while batting .334. Boston Bees 2B Bama Rowell meanwhile provided the power with 19 doubles, 10 homers and a .290 average. He would also go 3-1 with a 3.74 ERA on the mound. Pitching was always the strong point here in DeLand and 1954 was no different as John Blodgett posted a terrific 23-10, 3.29 record and Lloyd Leblanc went 18-10, 4.19. Carmelo Maldonado also contributed with a 14-7, 2.23 record. The Red Hats won almost as many games as the previous season, going 77-62 but they didn't make the playoffs. With attendance dropping faster than they could keep up with due to the advent of television (all teams across the board were suffering terribly), the Red Hats got the bad news after the season ended. It was all over. They would be moving to Gainsville's Harris Field for the 1955 season. The Red Hats history had come to an end.