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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: City vs. County

     August 23, 1957 -- This area has a history of electing some of its top football players to public office. Jack Kemp is the best example of that, but there are others such as Al Dekdebrun.

     Dekdebrun was born in Buffalo and graduated from Burgard High School. He eventually went to Cornell University, where he was an All-American after leading the nation in passing yardage.

     Then it was on to the pros. Dekdebrun played three years in the All-American Football Conference and six more in the Canadian Football League.

     When he wasn't playing, Dekdebrun was busy starting a sporting goods store in Buffalo. In that role he joined the Greater Buffalo Advertising Club. That's where today's date comes into play.

     Dekdebrun helped to create the Ad Club All-Star Football Game, which matched the City's best against the County's best at Civic Stadium. He was the first chairman of that matchup.

     Dekdebrun eventually became Amherst Town Supervisor, and a candidate for County Executive in 1975. He died in 2005.

--- Budd Bailey

This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Early exit

     August 22, 1877 -- This marks the end of the first season in the history of the Buffalo Bisons. It came a little earlier than expected.

     The Bisons were part of the New York State Championship Association in that year, which was a year after the National League was formed. The rest of the five-team league featured Syracuse, Binghamton, Auburn and Rochester.

     It was a season to forget in Buffalo. The Bisons were 3-14 on this date, and rather than finish the season they just gave up. The Syracuse Stars went 20-9 to win the title, two games ahead of the Binghamton Crickets.

     However, the Bisons played games against other teams in 1877, including National League competition. They had a 20-30 overall record.

     That impressed a few people in the International Association, which had just formed. When the IA decided to expand for the 1878 season, Buffalo was ready. The Bisons went out and signed a boatload of talent, helping them win the title in their first year.

--- Budd Bailey

Bandits notebook: Summertime goal

When Tracey Kelusky was acquired by the Bandits for the 2011 season, fans were hoping they'd see some spectacular goals out of him.

Kelusky is playing for Peterborough in the MSL finals in Ontario right now, and he won Game One with such a goal.

Some of the other Bandits on Peterborough's roster are John Tavares, Scott Self, Chris White, Daryl Gibson, Kyle Clancy and Angus Goodleaf.

And are those uniforms "busy" enough?

--- Budd Bailey

This Day in Buffalo Sports History: One last hurrah

   August 21, 1964 -- This was Old Timers' Reunion Day for the Buffalo Bisons. It was also Dave Danforth's last appearance in a Bisons' uniform.

   Danforth had an odd baseball career, in part because it was a long one. He started it in 1911 with the Philadelphia Athletics, but didn't make the majors for good until 1916 with the Chicago White Sox. Danforth spent four years with the White Sox, and added four more with the Browns.

   It looks like Danforth's career was over in 1926, but he continued to pitch in the minors. He caught on with Buffalo in July, 1930, and pitched in the bright lights of Buffalo ... literally. His first game came on July 3 against Montreal in the first night game played in the history of the International League. Danforth struck out 10 but lost, 5-4.

   Then on September 20, he struck out 20 Rochester Red Wings to set a league record. He went 12-8 that season.

   Danforth was released early in the following season, and came back for four games in 1932 to finish his career. He wound up with 177 career wins in the minors to go with 71 wins in the majors.

   Danforth became a dentist after retiring from baseball and stayed in that business until the age of 70. He died in 1970 at the age of 80.

--- Budd Bailey

This Day in Buffalo Sports History: A no-no for Pud

   August 20, 1880 -- Buffalo has had all sorts of great pitchers pass through over the years. James Francis Galvin better known as Pud (because he made opposing batters look like pudding) was the first one.

   Galvin arrived the major leagues for good in 1879 as a member of the Buffalo Bisons new members of the League. He was part of a two-man pitching staff, and went 37-27 in his first full year with the Herd.

   Galvin's numbers slumped a bit in 1880, falling to 20-35 with a 2.71 ERA. However, he made some history along the way. On this day, Galvin became the first pitcher in major-league history to throw a no-hitter on the road. The game in question was a 1-0 win over the Worcester Ruby Legs.

   Galvin picked a good day to pitch. This was a rainy day in Worcester. The one baseball used throughout the entire game became more and more slippery and mushy, in a newspaper account's words, as the contest went on. Six Ruby Legs reached on errors, but none of them made it past second base. Outfielder Joe Hornung scored the game's only run in the first inning.

   Galvin left Buffalo via trade in 1885, and retired with a record of 365-310. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1965.

 --- Budd Bailey

Post Time: Sweet Home Alabama

By Gene Kershner

The best 3-year-old fillies in the land will line up in the gate at historic Saratoga Race Course on Saturday afternoon before a national television audience (Ch. 2, 5 p.m.) in the Grade 1 $500,000 TVG Alabama Stakes. A key race in the division and a rematch of the two top finishers in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks (CCAO) during the meet’s opening weekend highlights the national racing scene on Saturday.

Horsephoto It’s Tricky will look to join five other fillies who have swept the Acorn, CCAO and Alabama to date. It’s Tricky held off the Kentucky Oaks champ Plum Pretty by three-quarter lengths at last month’s CCAO and she will be back to try and prevent her from donning the Triple Tiara.

It is a terrific group of fillies who have entered, including the winners of the Black-Eyed Susan, Queen’s Plate, Delaware Oaks and Desert Vixen. Inglorious (left), the Plate winner, decided to skip the final two legs of the Canadian Triple Crown specifically for this race. Luis Contreras will have the first Saratoga mount of his career on the Canadian-bred filly.

 The connections of Inglorious are no strangers to the Alabama. Owners Vern and Donna Dubinsky and trainer Josie Carroll won the 2009 edition of the race with Careless Jewel, who crushed the Alabama field that day by a massive 11 lengths. “She was a nice-looking horse,” recalled Vern Dubinsky of the purchase of Inglorious. “And she’s by Hennessy, who is the broodmare sire of Careless Jewel, which had a little bit to do with it.”

Here’s a look at all six fillies (Trainer, jockey, Oods in parentheses):

1 – Royal Delta (Mott, Lezcano, 6-1): The Black-Eyed Susan winner was beaten handily in the Coaching Club, but comes in second off the layoff for the Mott barn. The Empire Maker filly should not be challenged by the Classic distance of a mile and a quarter. She boasts a solid workout on Aug. 14 and should improve off her last effort.

2 – Pinch Pie (A Dutrow, J Velazquez, 15-1): She won her last two efforts on the grass and shifts back to the dirt and picks up Johnny V, who rode her down at Gulfstream over the winter. It would be a huge surprise if she hit the board amid this crew.

3 – Plum Pretty (Baffert, Garcia, 3-1): Beaten a neck in the Coaching Club, the Kentucky Oaks champ will be out to avenge that loss for trainer Bob Baffert, who loves the national TV spotlight. The added distance may be just what the doctor ordered. The pick.

4 – It’s Tricky (McLaughlin, Castro, 9-5): The Godolphin filly is aiming for the Triple Tiara, comes in third off the layoff, after a very sharp workout and should be the post time favorite. I’m going to try and beat her with the Kentucky Oaks 1-2 duo, but she must be respected.

5 – St. John’s River (Leggio Jr., Albarado, 5-1): Has the ability to hit the wire first. Her dam sire was also the sire of the Grade 1 champion Personal Ensign. She gave a game effort in the Kentucky Oaks, where she was coming after Plum Pretty late. The added distance may also help her. Looking for a big effort coming after her late closing effort to win the Grade 2 Delaware Oaks.

 6 – Inglorious (Carroll, Contreras, 6-1): The Plate winner has shown she can beat the boys, although a restricted race on polytrack. She faces an interesting test after eight weeks since her monumental win at Woodbine. Contreras is red hot, but this is Saratoga, and he’s definitely not in Kansas anymore. The pace scenario may not benefit Contreras’ late closing riding style, but she could catch a bottom piece of the exotics. Skeptical.

I look for Plum Pretty to hold off St. John’s River late with It’s Tricky fading in deep stretch. Inglorious and Royal Delta will try and close late but it will not be enough to crack the exacta.

Post Time outlook:

1 – Plum Pretty                                                                            

2 – St. John’s River

3 – It’s Tricky

 Good luck and let’s go cash some tickets!

 Gene Kershner is a Buffalo-based turf writer and handicapper who blogs at and tweets @EquiSpace.

Inglorious photo by Michael Burns Photography

This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Packing them in

     August 19, 1988 -- The Buffalo Bisons averaged about 667 fans per game when they played their games in Riverside Grounds in 1879. They did a lot better when they got to their newest, and current, home more than 100 years later.

     The Bisons sold out their game with the Omaha Royals on this date, attracting a crowd of 19,500. That put the season total at 1,061,319 for tickets sold. No minor-league baseball team had ever sold more in a season at that point.

     The old record was set by the Louisville Redbirds in 1983. They were the first team over a million with a season-total of 1,052,438.

     It's easy to forget what a remarkable run the Bisons had when they first moved into then-Pilot Field in 1988. They finished the 1988 season with a paid attendance of 1,186,651. That was a bigger number than the attendance figure for the Atlanta Braves, Chicago White Sox and Seattle Mariners.

     If that weren't enough, the turnstiles kept spinning for several more years. The high-water mark was set in 1991 when 1,240,951 watched baseball. Seven teams have gone past the million mark in attendance in a given year, and six of them were from Buffalo.

--- Budd Bailey

Running notebook: Rain, rain go away

John Beishline can count the number of races that he's been forced to cancel in his duties as a starter over the years on one hand. The number increased by one last Sunday.

A race at Chestnut Ridge Park in Orchard Park had to be wiped out because of lightning. A storm passed through the area right at race time. There are guidelines for such matters. If a storm pops up before the start of the event, the race is supposed to be delayed for 20 minutes. If more lightning is seen during that time, the race is cancelled.

Some runners complained, but it's hard to argue with leaning toward caution. I've run in races a couple of times in which I didn't feel overly safe because of a storm in the area, and it's not a good feeling.

Now for the weekend schedule, courtesy of

* Nancy Price Memorial 5K, Veterans Park in Youngstown, 9 a.m. Saturday.

* Elba Presbyterian Church 5K, Veterans Memorial Park in Elba, 9 a.m. Saturday, 374-4741.

* Habitat Run 5K, 1675 South Park Ave. in Buffalo, 9 a.m. Saturday, 863-8203. My first road race came about 10 years ago, and it was a Habitat Run. It's nice to see it back on the schedule after a break a couple of years ago.

* Christine Padasak Memorial Autism Awareness 5K, 393 North St. in Springville, 9:30 a.m. Saturday, 949-4072.

* Sunset Bay Experience 5K, 1028 South Shore Drive in Irving, 9:30 a.m. Saturday, 907-0219.

* Don Carroll 5K, Jackson Square in Batavia, 5 p.m. Saturday (585) 343-7440.

* Mississippi Mudd's 5K River Run, 313 Niagara St. in Tonawanda, 6:30 p.m. Saturday, 913-0621. This might be the biggest race of the year on a Saturday night, and it's a first-class operation.
* A Run for Row 5K, Como Park in Lancaster, 9 a.m. Sunday, 891-3896.

On Sunday, the running column checks in with a Running Hall of Famer.

-- Budd Bailey

This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Strikeout king

   August 18, 2010 -- Having a minor league record is good news, not great news. After all, no one wants to stay with a minor league team long enough to set a new standard, but it is a sign that a player is succeeding.

   That was the case of Dillon Gee, who entered the Buffalo Bisons' record book on this day.

   Gee recorded his 138th strikeout in a home game against Rochester. It broke the old mark of 137 set by Vicente Palacios in 1990.

   Gee didn't have a particularly good outing,lasting less than six innings in the game.

   "I've got to focus on that because my job is to go out there and pitch good games and I didn't do it tonight," he said. "So that's what I'm going to be thinking about."

   But his team did get a win. Mike Cervenak sent the fans home happy with a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth to give Buffalo a 7-6 win.

--- Budd Bailey

This Day in Buffalo Sports History: On and on

     August 17, 1986 -- The Buffalo Bisons played the Indianapolis Indians on this date. And played them, and played them, and played them some more.

     The two teams squared off in the American Association, and it took 20 innings to decide a winner. The game took five hours and 39 minutes, and finally ended when Joe De Sa came home on a passed ball to give the Bisons a 6-5 win.

     The Bisons had only one other 20-inning game in their history. It came in 1921 against Toronto in Offerman Stadium.

     One of the unsung heroes of the game was Pete Filson, who threw seven scoreless innings for Buffalo along the way. Filson only gave up three hits in his outing. It was Jack Hardy, however, who earned the win.

     Hardy only had one other win that season. Filson got plenty of wins in 1986, as he went 14-3 and was the only Buffalo pitcher to win more than 10 games.

     De Sa led the team in games played with 130, and also hit 17 homers to rank first on the Buffalo roster. De Sa died later that year in an auto accident.

--- 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.