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Audio: Great moments from the Bisons career of Greg Tubbs

Tubbs
Greg Tubbs (Buffalo Bisons photo)

By Mike Harrington

Be sure to check out my story in Wednesday's editions on former Bisons outfielder Greg Tubbs, who will be inducted into the Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame prior to Friday night's game in Coca-Cola Field.

Tubbs -- who played for the Bisons in 1991, 1992 and 1994 -- runs an indoor hitting academy and is an assistant high school baseball coach in Cookeville, Tenn.

"Being around these kids has kept me young and I love being able to give the same advice that some of Hall of Famers gave me," Tubbs (left) told me this week. "Our kids love being able to hit and our high school program has benefitted from it. I had a good career, a great time in the game and I finally got an opportunity to show I could play on the highest level,

"This hall of fame in Buffalo is really icing on the cake. This is the last thing everybody in their career wants in some way and I'm getting this opportunity. It's really a storybook situation for me."

As noted in the article, Tubbs is the answer to a couple of unique Bisons trivia questions and we can recreate the events through audio archives provided by former announcer Pete Weber.

1. Playing center field, Tubbs caught the final out of Buffalo's back-to-back American Association Eastern Division clinchers at Pilot Field -- a 6-4 win over Louisville in 1991 and a 3-1 win over Nashville in 1992.

Listen to those below:

Tubbs' final out in 1991

Tubbs' final out in 1992

2. Tubbs was also the batter who lined a two-run double into the left-field corner in Denver in the ninth inning of Game 4 of the '91 Association finals. The Bisons entered the frame getting no-hit and trailing, 9-0. They had six runs in and Tubbs drove in runs 7 and 8 -- but Greg Edge was called out at the plate and Buffalo lost, 9-8.

Listen to the most controversial finish in franchise history here:

Edge out in 1991

Tubbs had a great series against Denver even though Buffalo lost the series in five games. He homered in back-to-back 4-1 wins over the Zephyrs in Pilot Field as Buffalo took a short-lived 2-0 lead in the series. Here's his homer in Game Two:

Playoff HR in 1991

Be sure to look for my other Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame stories this week, focusing on longtime scout Bob Miske on Thursday and former manager Eric Wedge on Friday.

Bisons snap four-game skid, McGuire shines

By Taylor Nigrelli 

The Bisons used another dominant Deck McGuire performance to beat Toledo, 5-2, and snap a four-game losing streak Thursday afternoon in front of an announced School Kids Day crowd of 15,361 in Coca-Cola Field.  

McGuire pitched seven innings, allowed one run on three hits and tied a Bisons season high with 10 strikeouts. McGuire moved to 2-0 and lowered his ERA to 2.29 in his third Triple-A start.

The Bisons grabbed the lead early, scoring four runs in the first inning on the strength of back-to-back two-RBI base hits by Matt Tuiasosopo and Ryan Goins. The Herd would add a fifth run in the eighth inning on a Darin Mastroianni sacrifice fly.

Mike Hessman, who’s currently tied with Bisons great Ollie Carnegie for the all-time International League home run record of 258, failed to break the record, finishing 0-3 with a walk.

The Bisons will look to come away with a series split with the Mud Hens when they take the field Friday for a 7:05 start. Sean Nolin (2-2) and Mike Belfiore (2-2) are expected to start for Buffalo and Toledo, respectively. 

Hens' Hessman cracks 400th MILB home run; could break IL mark in upcoming series here

By Mike Harrington

All Mike Hessman has done in a minor-league career that dates to 1996 is hit home runs. In pretty much every stop he's made. Eleven stops in the minors -- including 18 longballs in 64 games for the Bisons in 2010 -- as well as three stops in the majors (Atlanta, Detroit, New York Mets) and even 48 games in Japan in 2011.

Hessman went deep Tuesday in the first inning of Toledo's 3-0 win over Rochester in Frontier Field and it was the 400th home run of his minor-league career. 

MILB.com has been keeping this rotating graphic of Hessman's power numbers and now has it updated with No. 400. Here's the video of the shot, with the call by Rochester announcer Josh Whetzel, who is also the voice of University at Buffalo basketball. 

(Memo to the Rochester TV crew: Whetzel is word-picturing a great scene of teammates congratulating Hessman and Red Wings fans standing and applauding behind the dugout and you missed all of it showing replays of him jogging around the bases. Just plain terrible. You gotta be better.)

Now Hessman has another quest: He has 255 career home runs in the International League -- just three shy of all league's all-time record of 258 set by Bisons legend Ollie Carnegie (1931-41, 1945). Carnegie is one of just three players to have his number retired on the left-field wall at Coca-Cola Field.

Hessman has 12 games to go before a four-game set in Buffalo between the Bisons and Mud Hens opens here June 3. He might already have the record by then, but it would make for a pretty interesting backdrop if he was on the verge of it when he hit town. Bears watching.

Audio: Dat Dude (aka ex-Bison Brandon Phillips) with Jim Rome

Blfap

By Mike Harrington

Former Bisons star Brandon Phillips is getting his first chance to represent Team USA at the World Baseball classic and, of course, is loving every minute of it (right).

Phillips, whose Twitter account of @DatDudeBP is one of the best of in professional sports and is approaching one million followers, was on Jim Rome's national radio show Wednesday afternoon. He talked about the WBC, how he's going to honor his 1 millionth follower, playing for Joe Torre, and still being unable to wipe out the memory of the Cincinnati Reds' collapse to the Giants in last year's NLDS.

Hard to believe it's 11 years since Phillips showed up with the Bisons after the Cleveland Indians' whopper of a trade with the Montreal Expos for Bartolo Colon. And Phillips' heroics for the Herd in its 2004 championship season? Nine years ago. Wow.

Click below to hear Phillips' interview with Rome.


Brandon Phillips

Photo: (@DatDudeBP via USA Baseball)

Buffalo Baseball Hall member Lovullo gets his day with Red Sox interview

Buffalo Baseball Hall of Famer Torey Lovullo had his interview with the Boston Red Sox Friday in Fenway Park, officially getting into the ring to replace Terry Francona as manager. Lovullo, who served as first-base coach in Toronto last season and managed the Bisons from 2006-2008, has told me several times in the last few years he thinks he's ready for a big-league gig.

Here's the MLB.com story on Lovullo's day, which spells out the candidates: Lovullo, Sandy Alomar Jr., Pete Mackanin, Dale Sveum and Gene Lamont.

Check out this Boston Globe video to hear some of his comments during his post-interview news conference in the ballpark's press box.

---MIke Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Red Sox to interview Buffalo Baseball Hall member Lovullo Friday for manager's slot

Buffalo Baseball Hall of Famer Torey Lovullo apparently has his hat in a big ring as the former Bisons player and manager will interview Friday for the vacant manager's slot with the Boston Red Sox. Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe tweeted the news about Lovullo late Tuesday afternoon.

Lovullo spent last year as the first-base coach under John Farrell in Toronto and the word is that Farrell, the former pitching coach under Terry Francona, has pushed Boston brass to give Lovullo serious consideration to replace Terry Francona. From this view, Lovullo has a chance to mesh well with young GM like Ben Cherington and the Red Sox know him from his stint as the manager in Pawtucket in 2010.

As a manager, Lovullo had a terrific run in Class A and Double-A with the Indians from 2002-2005, winning two league championships and producing four playoff teams. He posted back-to-back 73-68 seasons with the Bisons in 2006 and 2007 and then had a 66-77 record in 2008 when the Indians had one foot out the door on the way to Columbus. His next two years (57-85 in Columbus and 66-78 in Pawtucket) weren't much better but those teams had few prospects.

Still, Lovullo is highly regarded and has interviewed in the past for the top job with the Indians and Dodgers. He's a great communicator with players, the front office and media and he played for seven big-league teams in addition to having terrific years in the minors (notably with the Bisons in 1995, 1997 and 1998, and Scranton in 1999).

Lovullo was the most valuable player of the 1997 American Association playoffs and batted .326 on Buffalo's 1998 team that won the Governors' Cup and produced the franchise's only back-to-back championships.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Around the horn: La Russa, CC and Manto

I'm covering the Sabres-Flyers game tonight in a one-day respite from my annual post-World Series vacation (which also means continued withdrawal from my daily fix of St. Louis toasted ravioli). So while I'm back on the job today, I figured I'd chime in on some of the big news of recent days.

Headline: Tony La Russa retires

Reaction: They sure suckered us all. The feeling at the Series was that La Russa was coming back. Cardinals GM John Mozeliak did a group interview prior to Game Five in Texas and was asked about La Russa's potential return. Here was the answer:

"You know, as far as handicapping that, I think I'm not going to go down that path, but obviously having a manager in place and that staff in place, that would be probably something that we need to do right away, because obviously it's a very difficult task if we were to have to replace Tony. So at this point, hopeful that we can wrap that up rather quickly. And right now as far as what's going to happen, every time he and I start to sit down and talk about it, we always realize and we sort of pinch ourselves that here we are in the World Series or having success in the postseason. So we just really haven't stopped to focus on it at this time."

Lies, lies, lies. La Russa revealed during his farewell press conference and again on his fascinating interview with Bob Costas Tuesday night on MLB Network that he and the Cardinals had decided he was done during the summer. They did a fabulous game of possum with all of us. Props to them.

Headline: Yankees re-sign CC and Cashman

Reaction: Brian Cashman reeled in the big fish first and then quickly got his own deal done. There's no way the Yankees would be contending next year without CC Sabathia, who wasn't going anywhere unless his hometown A's or Giants somehow found an extra $100 million in a Dixie cup. A one-year, $25 million extension kept CC from exercising his opt-out clause. Now the Yankees need him to opt out of a few more meals starting in 2012. As for Cashman, he's now signed through 2015. He started as GM in 1998. Remember when George Steinbrenner seemingly had a GM a year? Pretty amazing.

White Sox sign Manto as hitting coach

Reaction: About time somebody gave another shot to Manto, the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Famer and Bisons legend who turned a journeyman like Freddy Sanchez into a batting champion when he was with the Pirates. Manto has been the Sox minor-league coordinator for four years and probably should have had this job a year or two earlier as Greg Walker continued to accomplish nothing in Chicago (see Rios, Alex and Dunn, Adam). Batting practice during those White Sox-Blue Jays games should be hysterical with Manto and Torey Lovullo (Toronto's first base coach) yammering back and forth.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Pena on life with the Yankees

It was great to catch up with Tony Pena over the weekend in Toronto. The Yankees bench coach had plenty of memories of his 1979 season in Buffalo that you can read about in Tuesday's editions as we head toward his induction Sunday in the Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame.

Pena is Joe Girardi's bench coach with the Yankees and got the first World Series ring of his long career with the Bronx Bombers in 2009. He had lost in the Series as a player with St. Louis (in 1987 to Minnesota) and Cleveland (in 1995 to Atlanta).

"That was like a dream come true to win," he said. "You try to achieve your ultimate goal and sometimes you never get it. In '87 and '95 we had chances and didn't win. As a coach I came here and this was my opportunity to have a ring on my hand. Everything happens for a reason. You just have to be at the right place at the right time."

The Yankees, of course, are in the hunt again this year. What does Pena think about their chances?

"We've been a little up and down but we just have to get our own guys back," he said. "[Rafael] Soriano, [Eric] Chavez and, of course, Alex [Rodriguez]. That's the first thing. When you have your guys, you'll be fine. We just need to try to play to the top of our abilities."

Whatever happens in 2011, it will always be remembered for Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit and Pena said he was thrilled to be in the dugout for the dramatic home run against Tampa Bay.

"That was an amazing moment," Pena said. "I've been here for six years now throwing batting practice to him all the time and seeing how much he puts into his body, how much effort he puts into the game, how much beating your body takes to play the same way every day. 

"The most amazing thing about him is how he comes out here and has the same expression every single day. I've never seen Derek jeter go from here to here [putting his hand over his head and then down by his knees]. He's on the same line and that's very tough for a player.

"When he got the 3,000th hit, I was like a little kid. I was so happy for him. It couldn't have happened to a better guy."

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

Bizarre three-ball walk costs Mariners

You can be pretty certain they'll be counting balls and strikes a lot closer now in the Mariners' dugout from now on after what happened late Saturday night. The Mariners lost to the Padres, 1-0, as San Diego's Cameron Maybin scored the game's only run in the fifth inning -- after reaching base on a three-ball walk

Yes, a three-ball walk.

Scoreboard operators at Safeco Field moved the count from 1-2 to 3-2 after an outside pitch in the dirt and no one in the park noticed. No umpires, not catcher Josh Bard (the ex-Bison) or Maybin. Mariners manager and old friend Eric Wedge did think something was amiss but he thought he had missed a pitch since no one else in the park reacted. Turns out Wedge knew what the deal was. 

Go here for the MLB.com link to the video of the "walk." It includes the actual at-bat and the review of it from the ROOT Sports Northwest telecast a couple of innings later.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Braves coach, an ex-Bison star, loses eye

Tough news coming out of Orlando today that Atlanta Braves Single-A manager Luis Salazar has lost his left eye after he was struck in the dugout by a line drive off the bat of Brian McCann during a game last week at the team's Disney World complex. 

"As the doctor told us from the very beginning," said GM Frank Wren, "in the big picture – and that’s what we always have to keep in mind – in the big picture this is a really good outcome. He’s alive…. He’s alive."

Salazar is still expected to be ready in 4-6 weeks for his managerial gig at Class A Lynchburg (Va.), so that's certainly good news.

Salazar, 54, played 1,302 big-league games from 1980-1992 with San Diego, Detroit and the Chicago Cubs. He played with the Niagara Falls Pirates in 1976 (where one of his teammates was former Niagara University legend Phil Scaffidi), and had a big season for the 1979 Bisons in their first year back in Double-A as he batted .323 with 27 homers and 86 RBIs on a Buffalo team that also featured future big-leaguer Tony Pena.

Salazar, in fact, is the answer to a major Buffalo baseball trivia question. His walkoff home run in the bottom of the ninth inning gave the Herd a 1-0 victory at War Memorial Stadium in its first game as a Double-A franchise after nearly nine years of no pro ball in town. 

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Baseball Notebook: Moving up

Good to see Torey Lovullo move up to the major leagues on Monday. John Farrell picked the former Bisons' player and manager to be his new first base coach. Torey is a Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame who knew Farrell back from their days in the Cleveland organization. In addition, Lovullo was in the Red Sox system as Pawtucket manager, while Farrell was the Boston pitching coach.

Farrell has developed a reputation as an extremely bright, hard-working person, and you can bet he's surrounding himself with similar people in Toronto. His bench coach choice is former Seattle Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu. 

Meanwhile, the list of candidates for the veterans' commitee in the Baseball Hall of Fame have been revealed. It's traditionally been tough to get someone elected this way, but there are some interesting candidates. The obvious ones are George Steinbrenner and Billy Martin, forever linked with the Yankees. Marvin Miller, the MLB Players' Association chief, has a ton of support from ex-players and is probably overdue. Then there are some other players: Vida Blue, Dave Concepcion, Steve Garvey, Ron Guidry, Tommy John, Al Oliver, Ted Simmons and Rusty Staub. No sure bets on that list, although Oliver and John strike me as players near the line of induct/not-induct.

And there will be a change in the lineup for Sunday NIght Baseball next season. ESPN will not be bringing back Jon Miller and Joe Morgan. The combination lasted for more than 20 years. No replacements have been named.

--- Budd Bailey 

Eight former Bisons in MLB postseason

Cliff Lee is on the mound for Texas today in Game One of the division series at Tampa and he's one of eight former Bisons still alive in the quest for the World Series. The Bisons' Web site has a full rundown on each player's career in Buffalo but here's the full list.

Texas P Cliff Lee (2002-03, 2007)
Cincinnati IF Brandon Phillips (2002-05)
Philadelphia relief pitcher Chad Durbin (2003-04)
Philadelphia OF Ben Francisco (2005-08)
Philadelphia IF Wilson Valdez (2009) 
Tampa Bay C Kelly Shoppach (2006)

Rehab assignments only
Minnesota DH Jim Thome (1998 playoffs)
New York P CC Sabathia (2006) 

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Bisons set for Hall of Fame day

Hello from Coca-Cola Field. Richie Sexson might not be here today, but I am, and that will have to suffice.

The Bisons are getting set up for today's Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame ceremony, honoring the aforementioned, and absent, Sexson, as well as the team's longtime broadcaster, Duke McGuire.

For more on the Sexson situation, be sure to check out the always-excellent work of Mike Harrington in his weekly inside baseball column.

And here's Harrington's profile of McGuire, a true legend of Buffalo baseball.

After the ceremony, the Herd will look to continue its walk-off magic. The Bisons have won the last two games over the Gwinnett Braves with walk-off hits, Saturday night when Jorge Padilla hit a pinch-hit sacrifice fly in the ninth inning.

Dillon Gee (8-5, 4.77 ERA) will be on the hill for the Herd.

Here's the Bisons' lineup for today's game:

Jesus Feliciano, CF

Luis Hernandez, SS

Jorge Padilla, LF

Valentino Pascucci, RF

Lucas Duda, 1B

Mike Cervenak, 3B

Andy Green, 2B

Jean Luc Blaquiere, C

Dillon Gee, P

---Jay Skurski

Around the horn: Full moon edition

What in the world was in the water Saturday? We had sheer craziness around the big leagues. Check it out.

1). The Indians roared back from a pair of six-run deficits to beat the Yankees, 13-11, in a  game marked by a scary scene as Cleveland pitcher and ex-Bison David Huff took an Alex Rodriguez line drive off the head. The ball ricocheted into right field as a horrified stadium full of fans watched. Huff was driven off in a cart to a hospital and actually returned to the park after the game following a negative CT-scan. Amazing.

Late Saturday night  on his Twitter page, Huff thanked the teams' training staffs and doctors, the Yankees' security staff even A-Rod for calling.

2). Kendry Morales of the Angels broke his leg. That can happen. But while jumping on home plate following a walkoff grand slam?  This Orange County Register column points out how the Angels will celebrate differently from now on.   In the Los Angeles Times, there's plenty of stark quotes from Angels players but the picture of Morales holding his head says as much as any of them.  

3). Then we moved to night. While most everyone in Philadelphia was watching the Flyers game, Roy Halladay was working on history of his own. By the ninth inning,the TVs in the bars were being switched in time to see him complete the 20th perfect game in history, a 1-0 win over the Marlins. Here's MLB.com's recap. It's the first time since 1880 we've had two perfectos in the same season. Yes, 1880. One of them that year by Providence's John Ward was against the Buffalo Bisons!

Great story from the Philly Inquirer about the postgame clubhouse scene.  

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

Ex-Bison Roberts, Sox '04 hero, stricken with lymphoma

Some sobering news out of San Diego today as Dave Roberts, the Bisons' modern-era stolen base leader and the man whose theft of second base in 2004 changed the course of Red Sox history, has been undergoing treatment for lymphoma.

According to the Associated Press story linked above, Roberts was diagnosed in mid-March and has a good prognosis after two rounds of chemotherpay. He is currently working for the Padres as a special assistant after spending last season in the Red Sox broadcast booth.

Roberts never needs a reservation in any Boston restaurant after stealing second in the bottom of the ninth off Mariano Rivera and scoring the tying run in Game Four of the 2004 ALCS. That allowed the Red Sox to stave off elimination and eventually win that game in extra innings -- starting an eight-game winning streak that culminated in Boston's first World Series title in 86 years.

Roberts was called up to the Bisons late in the 1998 season and played parts of four years with the Herd. He had back-to-back 39-steal seasons for Buffalo in 1999 and 2000, and batted .303 for the Bisons in 2001. He has 97 stolen bases for the Bisons -- 30 more than any player.

Roberts is one of the great guys in the game. It was great to see him get all the accolades he got in '04 and he handled the attention with the same kind of grace he showed when he worked in relative anonymity in Buffalo.

UPDATE: In a conference call this evening with San Diego and Boston reporters, Roberts said "My spirits continue to be high and I expect to beat this fully."

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

The Russ Bus returns to Cleveland

One of the more intriguing stories for Bisons fans to watch this season with their former parent is the return of slugger Russell Branyan to Cleveland. He's 34 now and long past his prospect days but he's also coming off his best big-league season -- 31 homers and 76 RBIs for the Mariners last year -- before a bad back saddled him for the final month.

Since he was traded by the Indians to the Reds in 2002, Branyan has really bounced around. He's been with six other teams after the Reds and even returned to Cleveland two other times -- slugging 25 home runs for the Bisons in 2004 and appearing in one game for the Herd in 2007. His 76 home runs in Buffalo are two shy of Jeff Manto's modern-era franchise record.

Can Branyan stay healthy this year and put up the kind of numbers the Indians saw last year in Seattle? Can he pick up the slack if Travis Hafner has yet another brutal season? Should be interesting. Here's some video of Branyan's press conference with Cleveland reporters a few days ago at the Tribe's spring camp in Goodyear, Ariz. (He gives it up to the '04 Bisons at the one-minute mark)

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

More from Manto

Manto clinic Be sure to check out today's Monday Extra feature catching up with ex-Bisons great Jeff Manto, who is in the coaching world now for both youths and minor leaguers (with the Chicago White Sox). Wanted to give Web readers the chance to see some great Manto quotes from his recent hitting clinic in Coca-Cola Field that were in a graphic in our print edition. They make great sense. Check 'em out.

Look like the (MLB) logo when you hit.
Finish the swing.
Better footwork helps the head and hands.
You need a baseline to hit before you get a style.
Check your feet after every pitch. They matter.
Refuse to strike out.
Never relax. Concentrate more.
You're only responsible for giving yourself a chance to get a hit, not to get the hit.
We're all pitchable to.
How would you tell someone to hit? Hit the way you would teach.
Figure it out. Don't use a crutch. It's not the coach or the umpire.
Hit the inside part of the ball every chance you get.
How come we buy a $300 bat and a $50 glove? Because we want to hit.
You've got to be nuts about hitting, crazed about it. Hitting has got to matter.
Don't think. Stay with your strength or you'll think yourself right back to the dugout.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

Photo: Harry Scull/Buffalo News

Torey talk in Pawtucket

While the Bisons were greeting the return of one Buffalo Baseball Hall of Famer last week in former manager and new Mets executive Terry Collins, another one was getting his official introduction in Pawtucket.

Former Bisons infielder and skipper Torey Lovullo, who managed last year in Columbus, was unveiled to the media at McCoy Stadium as the replacement for the popular Ron Johnson after the longtime skipper everyone calls "RJ" got promoted to Terry Francona's staff in Boston. Lovullo certainly has the seal of approval from Francona, his final big-league manager in 1999 in Philadelphia.

Check out this video of Lovullo getting his Red Sox jersey from Providence affiliate WNLE.


---Mike Harrington

(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

Lovullo moves to Boston organization

   Former Buffalo Bisons' manager Torey Lovullo, who has managed for Cleveland's farm system, for the past eight seasons, has jumped to the Boston Red Sox organization. He will manage the team in Pawtucket next season.

   Lovullo once played for Red Sox manager Terry Francona when they were together with the Phillies in 1999, and has worked with Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell when they were both in the Cleveland chain.

--- Budd Bailey

Astros call on member of Buffalo Hall

Daveclark

Some odd news late Monday afternoon out of Houston: The Astros have fired manager Cecil Cooper with just 13 games left in the season and have replaced him on an interim basis with third-base coach Dave Clark (right), the power-hitting outfielder who played for the Bisons in 1984, 1987 and 1992 and was inducted into the Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame last summer.

Highly respected Houston Chronicle columnist Richard Justice says Cooper lost the clubhouse a long time ago and Clark should have gotten the chance much earlier. Usually, you don't fire a manager this late in the season when you're going nowhere but the Astros are 70-79 and coming off an 0-6 road trip. Maybe this is a mini-audition for Clark.

Strangely enough, Clark will be replaced at third base by another former Bison, ex-Herd shortstop Al Pedrique. Clark is a highly respected manager for Houston's Double-A club in Corpus Christi (2005-07) and Triple-A Round Rock (2008). Cooper, the former Red Sox and Brewers first baseman, was a pretty surly type from my dealings with him when he managed Indianapolis. Clark has a reputation for being a solid communicator with players young and old.

Clark, now 47, has a unique distinction in Buffalo baseball lore: He is the only player to play for the Double-A Bisons, the Triple-A Bisons in War Memorial Stadium and the Triple-A team downtown in what's now Coca-Cola Field. 

His 1987 season in the Rockpile's farewell year ranks as one of the best in franchise history. Clark's average of .340 is a modern-era record that still stands and was the highest by a Bison since 1952. He added 30 homers, 80 RBIs and whopping numbers in slugging (.621) and OPS (1.034) that have yet to be matched. You can see Clark's full career stats here.

---Mike Harrington

(Photo: Associated Press)

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About Inside Pitch

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has covered the Buffalo Bisons since 1992 and Major League Baseball since 1995. A member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, Harrington has reported on more than 30 MLB postseason series — including every game of the World Series in this century — and all three of the Bisons' championship runs in their modern era. He is a connoisseur of the famous Stadium Mustard at Cleveland's Progressive Field.

@BNHarrington | mharrington@buffnews.com


Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has covered the Bisons for The Buffalo News since 2002. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz | amoritz@buffnews.com

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