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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Second-stringer

     June 17, 1880 -- Buffalo had a variety of "firsts" during its days in the National League in the 19th century. Here's a "second."

     The Bisons were the victim of the second perfect game in major league baseball history. The architect was John Montgomery Ward, as his Providence Grays took a 5-0 decision. Ward struck out two in retiring 27 men in a row.

     Ward was only 20 when he pitched the perfecto. He had something of an off-year in 1880, only going 39-24 for the Grays. The year before, Ward led the league with 47 wins.

     However, the Pennsylvania native also could play other positions when he wasn't pitching. Ward eventually moved into the infield full-time after a few years.

     Later on, he became known for off-field activities. Since Ward went to Penn State University, he probably was one of the few college-educated players of his time. He was a strong opponent of the reserve clause, and was one of the founders of the Players' League in 1890. Ward was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1964.

--- Budd Bailey

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