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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Moline?

   December 27, 1946 -- Someone once said that there's nothing new in the world, historically speaking. That's somewhat true when it comes to professional basketball in Buffalo. Or hadn't you heard of the Buffalo Bisons' basketball team?

   Few have, especially now. The Braves weren't the only Buffalo team to move.

   Buffalo had a franchise in the Naitonal Basketball League during the 1946-47 season. It was led by Don Otten, a 7-foot center who was cleverly nicknamed "Big Don." However, the team started slowly, going 5-8 through the first 13 games.

   Owner Ben Kerner had seen enough. He moved the team to Moline, Ill. on this day and became the Tri-Cities Blackhawks. That might not ring a bell either. Would you trade a team in Buffalo for one in Moline? In 1946?

   Tri-Cities drafted Bob Cousy and promptly traded his rights, thus insuring its demise to a certain extent. The Blackhawks later moved to Milwaukee, didn't do well there, and headed to St. Louis, where as the Hawks they actually won a championship in 1958.

   Still, St. Louis didn't warm to its NBA team either. So it was off to Atlanta. The Hawks have had some stars, but a lot of mediocre finishes since arriving in the Southeast. So, when you see the Hawks play, keep in mind that they got their start in Buffalo.

--- 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.

@WDX2BB | bbailey@buffnews.com

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