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This Birthday in Buffalo Sports History: Charles Radbourn

(Born December 11, 1854) -- Buffalo had some great baseball players pass through over the years. This is the story of one who got away, in a manner of speaking.

Charles Radbourn was born in Rochester after his parents emigrated from England. After some time working on a railroad, Radbourn tried his hand at baseball. He caught the eye of the Buffalo Bisons, who signed him in 1880.

Radbourn was a second baseman for the Herd for his six games. He supposedly practiced so hard that he hurt his shoulder and was released in those pre-disabled list days. However, Radbourn recovered and signed with Providence the next year.

He pitched for 11 years for Providence, two Boston teams and Cincinnati. Radbourn won 309 games in his career, including a 59-win season in 1884 that is a record.

In his later years, Radbourn lost an eye in a hunting accident and supposedly never came out of a backroom of a saloon he owned in Illinois because of some feeling of shame. He died in 1897, and was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939.

--- Budd Bailey

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