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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Renamed Rockpile

   August 24, 1960 -- Here's a trick question. What was the first professional football game ever played in War Memorial Stadium?

   The tough part is that before this date, the facility at Jefferson and Best in Buffalo was called Civic Stadium. This night, the name was changed to War Memorial Stadium.

   This was name number four for a stadium that first opened in 1937 as a WPA project. The building was called Roesch Memorial Stadium at first, and then was changed to Grover Cleveland Stadium later in 1937. The next year, the building became Civic Stadium, a title that lasted for 22 years.

   The ceremony didn't help the home team much. A crowd of 17,071 watched the Raiders defeat the Bills, 26-21. Buffalo was playing on three days rest, a bit too little for most pitchers let alone a pro football team. Oakland jumped out to a 20-0 lead and called off the dogs after that.

   War Memorial Stadium served as the home for the Bills until 1972, and later hosted the Buffalo Bisons baseball team until Pilot Field opened in 1988. Its demise did not cause many tears to be shed by local sports fans.

--- Budd Bailey


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About Sports, Ink

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey has served in a variety of roles in Buffalo sports in the past 35 years, including reporter, talk-show host, baseball announcer, public relations staffer and author. He covers the Bandits and running for The News when not working as an editor.