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89. 1990 West Palm Beach Expos
Record: 92-40
Florida State League

By Bill Weiss & Marshall Wright, Baseball Historians

Under the tutelage of one of the best skippers in recent memory, a Class A team in South Florida used a dominant pitching staff to easily win their league championship in 1990. This team played in the Florida State League and hailed from the beach-front town of West Palm Beach.

The town of West Palm Beach, located 60 miles north of Miami, joined the ranks of Organized Baseball in 1928. Here, a team called the Sheriffs finished 31-32 before the league disbanded on July 4.

Felipe Alou

Twelve years later, a Class D circuit called the Florida East Coast League was formed along Florida’s eastern shore. One of the founding members of the loop was an outfit playing in West Palm Beach and known as the Indians. In 1940, the Indians finished fourth with a 52-60 record and lost three games to one in the first round of the playoffs to the eventual champions, the Ft. Lauderdale Tarpons. The next season, the Indians jumped three places, winning the pennant with an 84-55 record, eventually losing the finals to Miami Beach, four games to two. Midway through May 1942, the league folded.

The very next year, the Indians moved right back into Organized Baseball, returning after a 27-year absence to the Florida State League. Here, the club finished fifth and third before leaving the league after the 1956 season.

Nine years later, a team from West Palm Beach rejoined the Florida State League, this time for a lengthy stay. From 1965 to 1968, as a farm team of the Braves, the team never finished over .500. In 1969, the team began a long association with one of the newest members of the National League - the Montreal Expos. Taking the name of the parent club, the West Palm Beach Expos made it to the playoffs in 1970, 1973, 1974, 1977, winning the championship in 1974.

In 1986, the team named a 51-year old ex-major leaguer as their new manager. The new skipper - Felipe Alou - led his team to the playoffs in his first year. Alou had retired as an active player following the 1974 season. In his 17-year major league career, he collected over 2,100 hits for seven different teams. High points of his career included a 218 hit, 31 home run, .327 season for the Braves in ’66 and a .317 campaign for Atlanta two years later. In 1963, while playing for the Giants, Alou played in the same outfield with his two brothers, Matty and Jesus, becoming part of the first fraternal trio to play in the same outfield in the same game.

In 1990, Alou led the West Palm Beach Expos to their greatest triumph. During the regular season, the team finished with a 92-40, .697 record, 14.5 games ahead of Vero Beach in the Florida State League’s Eastern Division. In the playoffs, the Expos defeated Lakeland, two games to one before bowing to Vero Beach in the finals by a similar count.

The club featured a strong pitching staff, dominated by three starting pitchers. Chris Pollack (13-2, 2.05) led the team in wins, while Dan Freed (12-8, 2.00) and David Sommer (11-4, 2.37) were close behind. In addition Freed and Pollack finished second and third in the ERA race. Relief specialist Rob Kerrigan (10-2) also posted a fine season.

From the plate, the team batted a lack-luster .251, although finishing fifth overall. Outfielder Ken Lake hit the most home runs (7) and had the most RBI (52), but batted a modest .245. A pair of part-timers - Jim Faulk, who hit .315 in 70 games and Matt Stairs, who batted .339 in 55 games, posted the highest averages. Stairs is the most famous alum of the club, as he continues to enjoy a solid major league career with the A’s.

Another member of the 1990 Expos, known for his versatility, filled the same role for the 1999 San Francisco Giants. F.P. Santangelo, who played SS and 2B for the Expos, played six positions for the Giants - 2B, 3B, SS, LF, CF, RF.

Alou managed the Expos through the 1991 season, before becoming the manager of the Montreal Expos midway through the 1992 season. In 1994, after guiding Montreal to a first place 74-40 mark in the strike-shortened season, The Sporting News named Alou its NL manager of the year.

West Palm Beach remained in the Florida State League through the 1997 season, when they relocated to nearby Jupiter, Florida, becoming the Hammerheads. During their final seven years in West Palm, the team finished in the playoffs twice (1992, 1994).

The success of the 1990 West Palm Beach Expos proves the adage that a good manager can make a difference. Squeezing offense out of a mediocre batting attack, while nurturing a quality, yet unknown, pitching staff, the future NL Manager of the Year, Felipe Alou molded the Expos into one of the finest teams in Florida State League history - a club which finished with the fourth highest winning percentage in league history.

1990 Florida State League Standings
TEAM W L PCT GB TEAM W L PCT GB
EAST BASEBALL CITY 60 78 .435 26.0
W. PALM BEACH 92 40 .697 - WINTER HAVEN 40 94 .299 44.0
VERO BEACH 79 56 .585 14.5
ST. LUCIE 76 58 .567 17.0 WEST
FT. LAUDERDALE 62 75 .453 32.5 DUNEDIN 84 52 .618 -
MIAMI 44 93 .321 50.5 CHARLOTTE 85 53 .616 -
SARASOTA 63 75 .457 22.0
CENTRAL ST. PETERSBURG 60 74 .448 23.0
LAKELAND 83 49 .629 - CLEARWATER 50 87 .365 37.5
OSCEOLA 72 66 .522 14.0

1990 West Palm Beach Expos batting statistics
BATTER POS GP AB R H BI 2B 3B HR BB SO SB BA
Adam Terris 1B 108 352 53 88 48 14 1 5 56 60 0 .250
Bob Fletcher 2B,3B 103 393 59 102 32 15 6 1 32 42 22 .260
Chris Martin SS 59 222 31 62 31 17 1 3 27 37 7 .279
John Mello 3B,2B,1B 87 312 39 66 43 16 2 6 29 64 8 .212
Todd Mayo OF 108 375 54 98 28 6 1 0 52 39 9 .261
Ken Lake OF,1B 103 306 39 75 52 8 6 7 35 76 8 .245
Rod Boddie OF 90 334 49 89 41 12 4 0 35 50 14 .266
Joe Siddall C 106 349 29 78 32 12 1 0 20 55 6 .255
Fred Williams DH,2B 82 254 26 59 29 5 6 2 46 72 9 .232
F.P. Santangelo SS,OF,2B 116 394 63 109 38 19 2 0 51 49 22 .277
Jim Faulk OF 70 254 52 80 31 12 3 3 30 47 33 .315
Matt Stairs 3B,SS 55 183 30 62 30 9 3 3 41 19 15 .339
Joel Smith OF 52 177 18 36 20 4 1 2 14 58 14 .203
Greg Fulton 3B,1B 44 169 27 44 39 10 6 3 11 25 3 .260
Eduardo Gonzalez 1B,C 32 83 8 7 5 3 0 1 10 23 0 .084
Robert Mason C 26 61 5 9 5 0 0 0 3 20 0 .148
Mike Weimerskirch OF 22 71 13 20 4 3 0 0 8 11 1 .282
Dan Hargis C 13 31 1 7 2 3 0 0 1 11 1 .226
Mike Grace 3B 5 14 0 2 1 0 0 0 3 1 0 .143
Abimael Rodriguez SS 4 9 0 1 1 0 0 0 4 2 0 .111
Kevin Foster 3B 3 6 0 1 2 0 1 0 1 1 0 .167
Perry Sanchez C 2 7 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 .143
Tim Laker C 2 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 .000
Totals 132 4359 597 1096 514 168 44 36 509 764 172 .251

1990 West Palm Beach Expos pitching statistics
PITCHER W L PCT G GS CG SH SV IP H BB SO ERA
Chris Pollack 13 2 .867 24 24 0 0 0 140 111 62 91 2.05
Dan Freed 12 8 .600 26 25 1 0 0 171 188 32 98 2.00
David Sommer 11 4 .733 29 19 1 1 0 133 89 64 126 2.37
Rob Kerrigan 10 2 .833 51 0 0 0 11 83 79 23 70 3.46
Pete Young 8 3 .727 39 12 0 0 19 109 106 27 62 2.47
Jeffrey Tuss 6 3 .667 29 0 0 0 1 47 34 25 28 2.11
David Wainhouse 6 3 .667 12 12 2 1 0 77 68 34 58 2.11
Rafael Reyes 5 4 .556 16 10 0 0 1 57 58 32 47 4.74
Bret Davis 4 0 1.000 43 0 0 0 11 66 57 25 49 3.29
Douglas Piatt 4 1 .800 21 0 0 0 9 27 12 16 41 0.99
John Wenrick 4 1 .800 21 0 0 0 4 37 40 8 22 3.62
Stacey Collins 3 0 1.000 16 8 0 0 0 57 53 17 33 2.35
John Thoden 3 5 .375 13 10 1 0 1 71 73 14 40 3.30
Jonathan Cornelius 2 3 .400 11 11 0 0 0 56 54 25 47 3.38
Joseph Logan 1 0 1.000 6 1 0 0 0 14 13 5 10 1.88
Richie Lewis 0 1 .000 10 0 0 0 2 15 12 11 14 3.00
Brian Shehan 0 0 ---- 2 0 0 0 0 3 6 2 2 3.00
Paul Ciaglo 0 0 ---- 1 0 0 0 0 1 2 1 2 18.00
Totals 92 40 .697 132 132 5 17 59 1166 1055 423 840 2.63