Key West Conchs
- Location: Key West, FL
- League: Florida International League 1952; Florida State League 1972-1974
- Affiliation: Co-op 1972-1973; Chicago Cubs 1974
The first minor league team based in Key West, FL, the Key West Conchs joined the Florida International League on June 20, 1952. They had formerly been the Fort Lauderdale Braves but that club was taken over by the league on June 1 before the transfer to Key West. Overall the club was the worst in the 1952 FIL, going 40-111, 63 and a half games behind the Miami Sun Sox. Key West was outscored 825-469 over the course of the year. The biggest name on the team was Nap Reyes, who split the year between Key West and the Havana Cubans. The club returned to Fort Lauderdale, FL the next season as the Fort Lauderdale Lions.
The name was used again in 1972 when the Key West Sun Caps of the Florida State League changed names. 20 years after the original Conchs struggled, this outfit finished last as well, though with a much better 55-76 mark. 18,228 fans turned out, putting them 11th of 12 clubs in attendance that year. Pancho Herrera was the manager of the team, which was outscored 601-440, allowing the most runs in the FSL. Not surprisingly, the team was All-Star-free. A co-op, the team received players from the Tigers, Reds, A's, and Dodgers among others. They were led in offense by Herrera (.284/~.431/.513) while Carlos Paz (15-12, 2.89, when not playing IF) and Mike Barlow (10-8, 2.90 from the A's) posted positive records as the better arms on the team.
In '73, they keyed in on a 64-78 record, 8th in the 10-team circuit, and were 6th in attendance (18,019). Woody Smith managed the unit, which had an All-Star this time, SS John C. Johnson (.247/~.303/.310). Again a co-op, they featured 3B Wayne Cage (.302/~.376/.516), the FSL leader in total bases (227), RBI (82), homers (18) and strikeouts (103). Cage lost the All-Star spot at third to Larry Parrish of the West Palm Beach Expos. Also having a solid year was Orestes Minoso (.290/~.392/.437, 18 for 24 in SB).
In their 1974 season, the Conchs were a Chicago Cubs farm team and had their third last-place year in four seasons with a 37-94-1 record, 45 games behind the Fort Lauderdale Yankees. Managed by Jack Mull and Q.V. Lowe, they were outscored 637-407, scoring the fewest and allowing 150 more than the next-worst team. They were 7th in the 8-team league in attendance (17,489) and were obviously lacking an All-Star. OF Joe Wallis (.221/~.336/.448) led the team with just 39 RBI and his 16 homers were more than the next three teammates combined. He also had 15 assists, third among league outfielders. The team had a talented pitching staff despite their poor track record. Bruce Sutter (1-5, 3 Sv, 1.35, 50 K in 40 IP), Donnie Moore (11-12, 2.79), Mike Krukow (5-10, 3.18) and Dennis Lamp (1-5, 1.47) all pitched for the team that year, an impressive group for a high class A team.
Sources include 1973-1975 Baseball Guides
|1952||40-111 overall||8th||Barney Lutz||Ft. Lauderdale was taken over by the league June 1, then moved to Key West June 20|
|1974||37-94||8th||Jack Mull (17-41) / Q.V. Lowe (20-53)|