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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Folding up the tent

   September 17, 1885 -- The youngsters reading this -- and by that, we're referring to everyone under 130 years old -- might not remember that Buffalo used to be a major-league baseball city. The ending to those glory days is a great story with an unhappy ending.

   The Buffalo Bisons had been in the National League since 1879 when they started the 1885 season. They had never finished higher than third, but the Bisons fell on hard times in that season. They were stumbling along near the bottom of the standings as the campaign came to its conclusion.

   In September, Detroit called to ask if it could purchase four players as reinforcements for the stretch drive. The Wolverines were told by Josiah Jewett, president of the Bisons, that they couldn't have them -- they had to buy the entire roster. So that's what the Detroit franchise did, paying $7,000 for the team.

   The Bisons finished the season about four weeks later. The roster was filled with amateur and local players. Buffalo lost every game but one the rest of the way; the Herd did record one tie in that span and finished 38-74 -- somehow avoiding last place in the process. The fans showed their enthusiasm by staying away; one game took in all of $3 in gate receipts.

   The National League left after the season, never to return. Buffalo has been on the outside looking in ever since.

--- 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.