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This Birthday in Buffalo Sports History: Wally Backman

(Born September 22, 1959) -- In most places, Wally Backman will be remembered as the second baseman on a world championship team. In Buffalo, he’ll be remembered as a manager of the 2012 Bisons.

Backman was born in Oregon and was a first-round pick of the Mets in 1977. He worked his way up through the minor league system, arriving with the Mets in September 1980. He drove in a run with his first big-league hit.

It took a few years, but Backman became a major league regular in 1984. Two years later, he was part of a platoon with Tim Teufel, another Bisons’ manager down the road. They helped jump-start the Mets’ lineup, which won 108 games this season and took the Series in seven games.

Backman stayed through the Mets’ trip to the playoffs in 1988, but then was traded to the Minnesota Twins. After a poor year in 1989, he jumped to the Pirates in 1990. Then it was on to the Phillies and Braves before his playing career ended in 1993.

But Backman didn’t want to take the uniform off. He managed in the minors until some personal problems sidetracked him for a while. Backman bounced back in 2010, and was promoted to the Bisons’ job earlier this year.

--- Budd Bailey

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