1879: With roots going back to 1877 as an independent team, the Buffalo Bisons joined the National League in 1879. The Bisons started the season with a 5-0 loss to the Boston Red Stockings who were one of the premier teams in the National League at Riverside Park. They would earn their first win two days later, beating Boston 6-4. While the Bisons managed by John Clapp struggled against Boston they had a good showing in their first National League season, finishing third with a record of 46-32. Pud Galvin a future Hall of Famer was Buffalo’s best pitcher winning 37 games.
1880: Sam Crane took over the managerial duties in the Buffalo Bisons second National League season, as the team failed to match the success of their first big league season. The Bison were among the worst teams in the NL, finishing in seventh place with a record of 24-58. The season’s bright spot came on August 20th when Pud Galvin No Hit the Worcester Ruby Legs 1-0. Perhaps some of Buffalo’s troubles came from players at the wrong position as Charlie Radbourn debut as a second baseman. Old Hoss Radbourn would go on to leave Buffalo and become a Hall of Fame pitcher.
1881: The Buffalo Bisons rebounded in their third season with Jim O’Rourke managing the team, finishing third with a record of 45-38. Pud Galvin continued to be the Bisons top hurler, while an improved offense led by Dan Brouthers keyed their turnaround. Dan Brouthers a future Hall of Famer would have a breakout season in his first season in Buffalo, leading the National League with eight home runs. One of the highlights of the season came on September 15th in 12 inning loss to the Worcester Ruby Legs as second baseman Davy Force recorded 12 putouts, seven assists, two unassisted double plays, participated in a triple play, and made just one error in 20 chances.
1882: Dan Brouthers continued to be one of the top hitters in baseball, as he won the National League Batting Crown with an average of .368, with six home runs and 68 RBI. Brouthers would lead the Buffalo Bisons to another third place finish with a record of 45-39. On May 25th Curry Foley an Irish immigrant who came to the United States when he was seven years old in 1863 became the first player in the history of the National League to hit for the cycle with a single, double, triple and home run in the same game. Foley’s home run was a grand slam during a 20-1 win over the Cleveland Blues.
1883: Dan Brouthers captured a second consecutive batting title, hitting .374 with three home runs and 97 RBI as Pud Galvin sets a team record for 46 wins as the Buffalo Bisons again managed to post a winning record, at 52-45. However, the record was only good enough for fifth place.
1884: The Buffalo Bisons get a new place to roam as they move to Olympic Park as Dan Brouther remained their top star, establishing a new team record with 14 home runs, as he had another stellar season batting .327 with 79 RBI. Player-Manager Jim O’Rourke became the second member of the Bisons to hit for the cycle and the fourth overall leading Buffalo to a 20-9 win over the Chicago White Stockings on June 16th. Later on August 4th, Pud Galvin tosses his second career No Hitter as the Bisons blanked the Detroit Wolverines 18-0 on the road. The Bisons would have one of their best seasons to date, finishing in third place at 64-47.
1885: The Buffalo Bisons would implode on and off the field as they struggled to finish in seventh place with a record of 38-74 under managers Pud Galvin and Jack Chapman. Players would shuffle out of Buffalo throughout the season, as the team was about to be sold to the Detroit Wolverines. The Bisons would finish the season with a roster full of amateur players as they decided to become a minor league team at the end of the season. Buffalo would not get another National League, as the Bisons became one of the cornerstone minor league franchises over the next century. Buffalo did get a team in the Players League in 1890 and the Federal League in 1914. Buffalo was also among the cities in the proposed Continental League in 1959 and were an early expansion consideration in the 1960’s, was never able to get the full support to return to Major League status.
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Page created on January 17, 2016. Last updated on January 17, 2016 at 11:45 pm ET.