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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Taro lives!

   May 28, 1974 -- This might have been the day of the greatest prank in a sports draft, in part because it was so unexpected.

   Sabres' general manager Punch Imlach had become bored with the long process of selecting players. They had already taken Lee Fogolin and Danny Gare, and were running out of prospects by the 11th round.

   Imlach then decided to have some fun. He sent public relations director Paul Wieland off to find a relatively common Japanese name. Taro Tsujimoto was then picked in the 11th round by the Sabres. The center was said to play for the Tokyo Katanas, which translated to Tokyo Sabres.

   The NHL wrote the pick down as choice No. 183. The Sabres and the league put the name in media guides. It even had a locker ready for him at training camp. It was pretty impressive for someone who didn't exist.

   The league eventually decided to rule the choice as "an invalid claim." But Taro's name still pops up in the Sabres media guide. Better yet, some old-school fans wear Sabre jerseys with Tsujimoto's name on the back.

--- 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.