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Buffalo Bisons

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Buffalo Bisons
Buffalo Bisons logo.svg
Buffalo Bisons cap logo.svg
Team logo Cap insignia
Minor league affiliations
ClassTriple-A (1985–present)
Previous classesDouble-A (1979–1984)
LeagueInternational League (2022–present)
DivisionEast Division
Previous leagues
Major league affiliations
TeamToronto Blue Jays (2013–present)
Previous teams
Minor league titles
League titles (3)
  • 1997
  • 1998
  • 2004
Division titles (10)
  • 1991
  • 1992
  • 1996
  • 1997
  • 1998
  • 2000
  • 2001
  • 2004
  • 2005
  • 2021
Wild card berths (1)
  • 2002
Team data
NameBuffalo Bisons (1979–present)
ColorsScarlet red, reflex blue, white[1]
MascotBuster T. Bison
Previous parks
Robert E. Rich Jr.
PresidentMike Buczkowski
General managerAnthony Sprague[2]
ManagerCasey Candaele
MediaWWKB and MiLB.TV

The Buffalo Bisons (known colloquially as the Herd) are a Minor League Baseball team of the International League and the Triple-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. Located in Buffalo, New York, the team plays their home games at Sahlen Field, the highest-capacity Triple-A ballpark in the United States.

The current Bisons organization was founded in 1979 and assumed the history of previous franchises that also used the Buffalo Bisons name, most notably the 1886–1970 Buffalo Bisons minor league franchise, and the 1879–1885 Buffalo Bisons major league franchise. The team established the Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985 to honor former players, managers and contributors to baseball in Buffalo.

The team holds the all-time record for single-season attendance in Minor League Baseball, selling 1,240,951 tickets in 1991 while being considered for 1993 Major League Baseball expansion. Forbes valued the Buffalo Bisons at $34 million in 2016, making it the 15th-most valuable Minor League Baseball franchise.[3]


Mayor James D. Griffin and an investment group purchased the Jersey City A's of the Double-A class Eastern League for $55,000 in 1978, and the team began play as the Buffalo Bisons at War Memorial Stadium in 1979.[4] This new franchise assumed the history of prior Buffalo Bisons teams that had played in the city from 1877 to 1970. Robert E. Rich Jr. purchased the Bisons for $100,000 in 1983,[5] and upgraded the team to the Triple-A class American Association in 1985 after buying out the Wichita Aeros for $1 million.[6][7] Rich Jr. grew the team's popularity and was known for his innovative promotional tie-ins, most notably an annual series of post-game concerts by The Beach Boys.[8]

The Buffalo Bisons moved to the $42.4 million Pilot Field (now Sahlen Field) in downtown Buffalo in the 1988 season. In their first year at the venue after moving from War Memorial Stadium, the Bisons broke the all-time record for Minor League Baseball attendance by drawing 1,186,651 fans during the 1988 season.[9][10] The team won two division titles and set subsequent attendance records on the heels of their unsuccessful 1993 Major League Baseball expansion bid. The team's 1991 single-season attendance of 1,240,951 remains a Minor League Baseball record.[11]

Buffalo Bisons hosting Nashville Sounds for their final game at War Memorial Stadium, August 1987
Buffalo Bisons hosting Nashville Sounds for their final game at War Memorial Stadium, August 1987

The Cleveland Indians replaced the Pittsburgh Pirates as Major League Baseball affiliate of the Buffalo Bisons prior to the 1995 season.[12] The team won division titles in 1996 and 1997, and won the final American Association championship in 1997. Bartolo Colón threw the first no-hitter in franchise history on June 20, 1997 against the New Orleans Zephyrs.[13]

In wake of the American Association disbanding following the 1997 season, the Bisons joined the International League in 1998. The team won the division and league championship in their first season, but lost the Triple-A World Series. The addition of regional rivalries allowed for the creation of the Thruway Cup, an annual competition between the Buffalo Bisons, Rochester Red Wings and Syracuse SkyChiefs.[14] The Bisons went on to win division titles in 2000, 2001, 2004, 2005, and the league championship at home in 2004.

The New York Mets replaced the Cleveland Indians as Major League Baseball affiliate of the Buffalo Bisons prior to the 2009 season.[15] This era was plagued with poor on-field performance and low attendance.

Buffalo Bisons playing as the Trenton Thunder at Trenton Thunder Ballpark, May 2021
Buffalo Bisons playing as the Trenton Thunder at Trenton Thunder Ballpark, May 2021

The Toronto Blue Jays replaced the New York Mets as Major League Baseball affiliate of the Buffalo Bisons prior to the 2013 season.[16] To kick off this era, the Bisons scored 27 runs on 29 hits against the Syracuse Chiefs on April 18, 2013, setting records for the most runs and hits in an International League game since 1973.[17][18] The Blue Jays used Sahlen Field as their home field in 2020 after the Bisons season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, investing $5 million in upgrading the venue.

In conjunction with Major League Baseball's restructuring of Minor League Baseball and the closure of the International League, the Bisons joined the newly formed Triple-A East in 2021.[19] Due to renovations at Sahlen Field as well as use of the stadium by the Blue Jays, the Bisons began their 2021 season at Trenton Thunder Ballpark in Trenton, New Jersey. At their home games, they wore the uniforms of the Trenton Thunder and were referred to as such while the Thunder MLB Draft League team was referred to as Draft League Thunder by the Thunder organzation; on the road, they were still known as the Buffalo Bisons while the Thunder MLB Draft League team was referred to as Trenton Thunder on the road.[20][21]

The Bisons returned to the International League in 2022.[22]

Sahlen Field, home of the Buffalo Bisons since 1988


Players Coaches/Other



  •  3 Chris Bec
  • 10 Stevie Berman
  • 78 Juan Gonzalez





  • 20 Corey Hart (hitting)
  • 44 Brendan Kelly (bullpen)
  • 16 Jake McGuiggan (development)
  • 22 Devon White (coach)

Injury icon 2.svg 7-day injured list
* On Toronto Blue Jays 40-man roster
~ Development list
# Rehab assignment
∞ Reserve list
‡ Restricted list
§ Suspended list
† Temporarily inactive list
Roster updated January 10, 2023
→ More rosters: MiLB • International League
Toronto Blue Jays minor league players


Retired numbers

Number Player Retirement Date
6 Ollie Carnegie
25 Luke Easter
30 Jeff Manto August 17, 2001
42 Jackie Robinson April 15, 1997

National Baseball Hall of Fame members

Player/Manager Year Inducted Years with the Bisons
Jim Thome 2018 1998

International League Hall of Fame members

Player/Manager Year Inducted Years with the Bisons
Jeff Manto 2014 1997–2000
Marc Bombard 2015 1992 (Manager)
Mike Hessman 2018 2010

Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame members

Player/Manager[23] Year Inducted Years with the Bisons
Terry Collins 1992 1989–1991 (Manager)
Joe DeSa 1992 1985–1986
Rick Lancellotti 1995 1979–1980
Steve Farr 1996 1980–1983
Dorn Taylor 1998 1988–1990
Torey Lovullo 2003 1995, 1997–1998
Jeff Manto 2003 1997–2000
Tom Prince 2004 1988–1992
Rick Reed 2006 1988–1991
Bill Selby 2007 1998–2000, 2002
Dave Clark 2008 1984, 1987, 1992
Brian Graham 2008 1995–1997 (Manager)
Carlos García 2009 1990–1992
Dave Hollins 2009 2000–2001
Richie Sexson 2010 1997–1998
Tony Peña 2011 1979
Brian Giles 2012 1995–1996, 1998
Russ Morman 2012 1985–1986, 1993
Dave Roberts 2013 1998–2001
Ernie Young 2013 2004–2005
Greg Tubbs 2014 1991–1992, 1994
Eric Wedge 2014 2001–2002 (Manager)
Chris Coste 2015 2000–2002
Greg LaRocca 2015 2001–2003
Alex Ramírez 2016 1997–1999
Jason Jacome 2017 1997–1998
Mark Ryal 2017 1985, 1990
Joe Roa 2018 1995–1996
Marty Brown 2018 2003–2005, 2013 (Manager)
Ben Francisco 2022 2005–2008
Jhonny Peralta 2022 2003–2004
Bob Patterson 2022 1988–1989

All 25 Seasons Team (2012)

Position Player/Manager Years with the Bisons
Manager Terry Collins 1989–1991
Catcher Tom Prince 1988–1992
First Base Richie Sexson 1997–1998
Second Base Brandon Phillips 2002–2005
Third Base Russell Branyan 1999–2000, 2004, 2007
Shortstop Jhonny Peralta 2003–2004
Outfield Ben Francisco 2005–2008
Outfield Brian Giles 1995–1996, 1998
Outfield Alex Ramírez 1997–1999
Designated Hitter Jeff Manto 1997–2000
Starting Pitcher Bartolo Colón 1996–1997, 2000
Starting Pitcher Rick Reed 1988–1991
Starting Pitcher Dorn Taylor 1988–1990
Relief Pitcher Fernando Cabrera 2004–2006, 2012
Relief Pitcher Danny Graves 1995–1997, 2006

Season-by-season records

Season League Division Manager Regular Season Postseason Awards
Finish W L Win%
1979 EL Steve Demeter 4th 72 67 .518 No playoffs held
1980 EL North Steve Demeter 5th 67 70 .489 Lost Semi-Finals, 0–2 (Millers)
1981 EL North Johnny Lipon 7th 56 81 .409 Did not qualify
1982 EL North Tommy Sandt 8th 55 84 .396 Did not qualify
1983 EL Al Gallagher 3rd 74 65 .532 Lost Semi-Finals, 0–2 (Sailors)
1984 EL Jack Aker 5th 72 67 .518 Did not qualify
1985 AA East John Boles 3rd 66 76 .465 Did not qualify
1986 AA East Jim Marshall 2nd 71 71 .500 Did not qualify Pete Filson
(Most Valuable Pitcher)
Robert E. Rich Jr.
(CEO of the Year)
1987 AA Orlando Gómez
Steve Swisher
5th 66 74 .471 Did not qualify
1988 AA East Rocky Bridges 3rd 72 70 .507 Did not qualify Robert E. Rich Jr.
(CEO of the Year)
1989 AA East Terry Collins 2nd 80 62 .563 Did not qualify Buffalo Bisons
(Larry MacPhail Award)
1990 AA East Terry Collins 2nd 85 62 .578 Lost one-game playoff, 3–4 (Sounds)
1991 AA East Terry Collins 1st 81 62 .566 Lost Championship, 2–3 (Zephyrs) Rick Reed
(Most Valuable Pitcher)
Robert E. Rich Jr.
(CEO of the Year)
Buffalo Bisons
(Baseball America
Bob Freitas Award)
1992 AA East Marc Bombard 1st 87 57 .604 Lost Championship, 0–4 (89ers) Kevin Young
(Rookie of the Year)
Marc Bombard
(Manager of the Year)
Buffalo Bisons
(President's Award)
1993 AA East Doc Edwards 2nd 71 73 .493 Did not qualify
1994 AA Doc Edwards 8th 55 89 .382 Did not qualify
1995 AA Brian Graham 2nd 86 62 .569 Won Semi-Finals, 3–1 (Royals)
Lost Championship, 2–3 (Redbirds)
1996 AA East Brian Graham 1st 84 60 .583 Lost Semi-Finals, 2–3 (Indians)
1997 AA East Brian Graham 1st 87 57 .604 Won Semi-Finals, 3–2 (Indians)
Won Championship, 3–0 (Cubs)
1998 IL North Jeff Datz 1st 81 62 .566 Won Semi-Finals, 3–0 (SkyChiefs)
Won Championship, 3–2 (Bulls)
Lost World Series, 1–3 (Zephyrs)
1999 IL North Jeff Datz 4th 72 72 .500 Did not qualify
2000 IL North Joel Skinner 1st 86 59 .593 Won one-game playoff, 7–1
(Red Barons)
Lost Semi-Finals, 1–3
(Red Barons)
Joel Skinner
(Manager of the Year)
2001 IL North Eric Wedge 1st 91 51 .641 Lost Semi-Finals, 2–3
(Red Barons)
Eric Wedge
(Manager of the Year)
Buffalo Bisons
(Baseball America

Bob Freitas Award)
2002 IL North Eric Wedge 2nd 84 54 .609 Won Semi-Finals, 3–0
(Red Barons)
Lost Championship, 0–3 (Bulls)
2003 IL North Marty Brown 3rd 73 70 .510 Did not qualify
2004 IL North Marty Brown 1st 83 61 .576 Won Semi-Finals, 3–2 (Bulls)
Won Championship, 3–1 (Braves)
Jhonny Peralta (MVP)
Marty Brown
(Manager of the Year)
2005 IL North Marty Brown 1st 82 62 .569 Lost Semi-Finals, 2–3 (Indians)
2006 IL North Torey Lovullo 3rd 73 68 .518 Did not qualify
2007 IL North Torey Lovullo 3rd 75 67 .569 Did not qualify
2008 IL North Torey Lovullo 5th 66 77 .462 Did not qualify
2009 IL North Ken Oberkfell 6th 56 87 .392 Did not qualify
2010 IL North Ken Oberkfell 3rd 76 68 .528 Did not qualify
2011 IL North Tim Teufel 5th 61 82 .427 Did not qualify
2012 IL North Wally Backman 6th 67 76 .469 Did not qualify
2013 IL North Marty Brown 3rd 74 70 .514 Did not qualify
2014 IL North Gary Allenson 3rd 77 66 .538 Did not qualify
2015 IL North Gary Allenson 3rd 68 76 .472 Did not qualify Matt Hague (MVP)
2016 IL North Gary Allenson 5th 66 78 .458 Did not qualify
2017 IL North Bobby Meacham 5th 65 76 .461 Did not qualify
2018 IL North Bobby Meacham 6th 61 77 .442 Did not qualify
2019 IL North Bobby Meacham 3rd 71 69 .507 Did not qualify
2020 IL North Ken Huckaby Season cancelled
(COVID-19 pandemic)
2021 AAAE Northeast Casey Candaele 1st 79 47 .627 No playoffs held Casey Candaele
(Manager of the Year)
2022 IL East Casey Candaele
Jeff Ware
4th 76 72 .514 Did not qualify
Total 3150 2956 .516

Radio and television

Bisons Baseball Network produces all radio broadcasts of Buffalo Bisons games. Their flagship station since 2009 has been WWKB, a clear-channel station in Buffalo. Select games are simulcast on WGR in Buffalo and CJCL in Toronto. Games were previously carried by WUFO/WXRL (1983), WEBR (1984), WBEN (1985–1988) and WGR (1989–2008).

MiLB.TV has aired live video streams of all Buffalo Bisons games since 2013. Select games have been televised on WNLO since 2019. Games were previously televised on WNYB (1988–1989, 1996), Empire Sports Network (1991–1995, 1997–2004), Time Warner Cable SportsNet (2007–2016) and Spectrum Sports (2017).[24]

Pat Malacaro has served as the team's play-by-play announcer since 2018.[25] Pete Weber served as play-by-play announcer from 1983 to 1995, and is the current play-by-play announcer for the Nashville Predators. Jim Rosenhaus served as play-by-play announcer from 1996 to 2006, and is the current play-by-play announcer for the Cleveland Guardians. Ben Wagner served as play-by-play announcer from 2007 to 2017, and is the current play-by-play announcer for the Toronto Blue Jays.[26][27]

Duke McGuire has served as the team's color commentator since 1996, and previously worked as the team's in-stadium public address announcer from 1979 to 1995.[28] John Murphy served as color commentator from 1985 to 1988, and is the current play-by-play announcer for the Buffalo Bills. Greg Brown served as color commentator from 1989 to 1993, and is the current play-by-play announcer for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Weber, McGuire and Rosenhaus were inducted into the Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame for their broadcast work.



Clockwise from upper left: WCC mascot race, Tom "Conehead" Girot, Buster T. Bison

Donald Palmer was an acrobatic batboy who performed for the Buffalo Bisons as "The Butcher" from 1979 to 1988.[29]

Earl Howze, Jr. was a beer vendor who performed for the Buffalo Bisons as "The Earl of Bud" from 1979 to 1997. He was known for dancing to the song "Tequila" atop the venue's dugouts, with a routine similar to the one made famous by Paul Reubens in the 1985 film Pee-wee's Big Adventure.[30] The Buffalo Bisons honored him at an August 2012 game, with every fan in attendance receiving a bobblehead of his likeness.[31] Howze, Jr. also performed for the Buffalo Sabres at Buffalo Memorial Auditorium.

Tom Girot is a beer vendor who has performed for the Buffalo Bisons as "Conehead" since 1979.[32] The Buffalo Bisons honored him at a July 2018 game, with a beer launched in his likeness called Conehead IPA by Resurgence Brewing Company.[33] Girot has also performed for the Rochester Red Wings at Frontier Field and the Toronto Blue Jays at Sahlen Field.[34][35]

Buster T. Bison has been the official mascot of the Buffalo Bisons since 1983.[36] He was later joined by his cousin Chip in 1994, and his future wife Belle in 2006.[37][38]

Tracey B. Wilson was an actress who performed for the Buffalo Bisons as the mime "Loud Mouth" from 1993 to 1999.[39]

Buffalo Bisons games since 2011 have featured the Wing, Cheese & Carrot (WCC) mascot race between costumed representations of various local foods just prior to the sixth-inning.[40]


"Stampede" has been the official fight song of the Buffalo Bisons since their inaugural season at Sahlen Field in 1988.

Tina Turner's recording of "The Best" is played after every Buffalo Bisons home victory at Sahlen Field.[41][42]

A parody of the Gary Glitter song "Rock and Roll Part 2" featuring lyrics referencing Irv Weinstein was played at Sahlen Field during the seventh-inning stretch of Buffalo Bisons games in the 1990s.[43]


  1. ^ "Buffalo Bisons unveil new team logo". MLB Advanced Media, LP. November 20, 2012. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  2. ^ "Personnel News: High Point, Buffalo". Ballpark Digest. March 10, 2020. Retrieved March 10, 2020.
  3. ^ Klebnikov, Sergei (July 8, 2016). "Minor League Baseball's Most Valuable Teams – 15. Buffalo Bisons". Forbes. Retrieved September 23, 2016.
  4. ^ Moritz, Amy (July 14, 2017). "Buffalo's downtown ballpark: The house that Jimmy built". The Buffalo News.
  5. ^ "After 20 years, Bisons still a hit for Bob Rich Jr". Archived from the original on 2004-05-20. Retrieved 2021-03-09.
  6. ^ "A Major League Effort for Buffalo". Los Angeles Times. September 6, 1988.
  7. ^ "The Daily Oklahoman from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on September 8, 1984 · 72".
  8. ^ GELLER, KATHRYN. "BEACH BOYS AND BISONS ARE A SUMMER TRADITION". The Buffalo News. Retrieved 2021-03-09.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ "Buffalo Bisons Set Minor League Attendance Mark". Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. August 20, 1988. Archived from the original on May 17, 2014. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
  10. ^ "Buffalo Bisons Franchise History (1878-2019)".
  11. ^[bare URL PDF]
  13. ^ "A trip back in time to the Bartolo Colon no-hitter you never knew about |".
  14. ^ "Triple-A still thriving after 1998 realignment".
  15. ^ "Bisons meet the Mets - Buffalo Business First".
  16. ^ "Triple-A Buffalo switches affiliation to Blue Jays". September 22, 2012.
  17. ^ Bisbing, Brad (April 18, 2013). "RECORDS fall in 27–9 Bisons win – Unforgettable team performance as Buffalo earns sweep". Buffalo Bisons. Retrieved April 20, 2013.
  18. ^ Parker, John (April 18, 2013). "Negrych cycles in Bisons' record rout". Retrieved April 20, 2013.
  19. ^ Mayo, Jonathan (February 12, 2021). "MLB Announces New Minors Teams, Leagues". Major League Baseball. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
  20. ^ Gardner, Steve (April 9, 2021). "Blue Jays' top minor league team temporarily moves home games from Buffalo to Trenton". USA Today. Retrieved 17 May 2021.
  21. ^ Leaguer, Minor (9 April 2021). "Blue Jays' 2021 Triple-A Affiliate: The Trenton Buffalo Thunder Bisons". Bluebird Banter. SB Nation. Retrieved 17 May 2021.
  22. ^ "Historical League Names to Return in 2022". Minor League Baseball. March 16, 2022. Retrieved March 16, 2022.
  23. ^ "Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame." Buffalo Bisons. Retrieved on August 19, 2018.
  24. ^ "Bisons and Nexstar Broadcasting partner to air 10-game schedule on The CW-23". WNLO. April 22, 2019. Retrieved April 22, 2019.
  25. ^ Ingersoll, Ali (12 April 2018). "Meet Pat Malacaro: The new voice of the Buffalo Bisons".
  26. ^ "Ben Wagner & Dan Shulman join Sportsnet's Blue Jays radio broadcast team". Sportsnet. March 27, 2018. Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  27. ^ Harrington, Mike (March 27, 2018). "Bisons radio announcer Ben Wagner promoted to Blue Jays' booth; Pat Malacaro named replacement". Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  28. ^ "Bisons Broadcast Team".
  29. ^ "Buffalo Bisons family mourns the passing of 'The Butcher' - Donald Palmer".
  30. ^ GRAHAM, TIM. "Whither the Earl of Bud? Local sports icon left town like a ghost in 1997". The Buffalo News.
  31. ^ REPORTER, CHARITY VOGEL ?AND JANE KWIATKOWSKI, Jane Kwiatkowski, Jane Kwiatkowski NEWS STAFF. "Earl of Bud takes his act to Tennessee". The Buffalo News.
  32. ^ "Buffalo beer vendor Girot beloved by fans".
  33. ^ McShea, Keith. "Famed vendor 'Conehead' gets his own beer at Buffalo Bisons games". The Buffalo News.
  34. ^ "Nobody pours it on like beer vendor Tom 'Conehead' Girot at Rochester and Buffalo games".
  35. ^ "For the first time in 640 days, Conehead gets set to sell cold ones at Sahlen Field". June 2021.
  36. ^ "So three mascots walk into a photo shoot …".
  38. ^ "Bisons Introduce New Mascot, Belle". OurSports Central. May 7, 2006.
  39. ^ CLAPP, KEVIN. "JUST ASKING". The Buffalo News.
  40. ^ "WCC Race".
  42. ^ "The Bisons are back: Scenes from the opening week in Sahlen Field". Buffalo News. August 15, 2021. Retrieved April 5, 2022.
  43. ^ "Irv Weinstein".

External links

This page was last edited on 30 November 2022, at 21:25
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