BUFFALO BISONS

The History of the Buffalo Bisons Baseball Team

When the National League was formed in 1876, teams were primarily concentrated in the country's largest cities. But nothing was smooth in baseball's early days, and, after a few unrelated scandals — game fixing, teams not wanting to finish out the schedule — numerous franchises were expelled. By 1879, the NL had a team in Buffalo, roughly the country's 13th largest city, as well as smaller cities like Providence and Syracuse.

The new Buffalo team came into the NL with a great tailwind. Founded in 1877, the Bisons had been among the more successful Minor League clubs in those early years of baseball, so they were a natural addition to a depleted National League two years later.

Though they never won a pennant, the Bisons had a respectable seven-year run in the National League, finishing third in an eight-team league most years. They also had some of the true stars of 19th-century baseball, including Hall of Famers Pud Galvin (a 300-game winner) and Dan Brouthers (one of the great pre-modern sluggers, who led the NL in OPS+ eight times). As one might expect, the team also featured some of the quaint nicknames that pepper 19th-century baseball, including a Deacon (White) and a couple of Orators (Hall of Famer O'Rourke and Shafer, a decent hitter who played just a year for the Bisons).

After finishing seventh in 1885, the financially struggling franchise left the National League, but it didn't dissolve...and, in fact, it never dissolved. Over the past 135 years, the Bisons have been in a number of different minor leagues (the Eastern League, the Western League, the International League), and they actually still exist today as the AAA affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. As such, the Bisons have the distinction of being the only 19th-century National League franchise that still exists, but is not a major-league team.

Baseball Almanac Top Quote

"All the (Buffalo) players were sold before the end of the 1885 season for $7,000 to Detroit pharmaceutical man Frederick Kimball Stearns of the National League." - Jonathan Fraser Light (1994)

Buffalo Bisons History

Buffalo Bisons Franchise Facts

1879
1880 1881 1882 1883 1884 1885 1886 1887 1888 1889
Bold Seasons : Uniform Numbers Worn
1879
1880 1881 1882 1883 1884 1885 1886 1887 1888 1889
Bold Seasons : Box Scores Available
Buffalo Bisons 100 Win Seasons
Year Record Manager
None n/a n/a
Buffalo Bisons 100 Loss Seasons
Year Record Manager
None n/a n/a
Buffalo Bisons No-Hitters
Name IP Date
Pud Galvin 9.0 08-20-1880
Pud Galvin 9.0 08-04-1884
Bold = Perfect Game
Buffalo Bisons Cycle Hitters
Name Inn. Date
Curry Foley 9.0 05-25-1882
Jim O'Rourke 9.0 06-16-1884
Bold = Natural Cycle
Buffalo Bisons Cy Young Winners
Year Name Position
None n/a n/a
Buffalo Bisons MVP Winners
Year Name Position
None n/a n/a
Buffalo Bisons Rookies of the Year
Year Name Position
None n/a n/a
Buffalo Bisons Retired Numbers
# Name Position
n/a None n/a
Buffalo Bisons ERA Champions
Year Name #
None n/a n/a
Buffalo Bisons Home Run Champions
Year Name #
1881 Dan Brouthers 8
Buffalo Bisons Strikeout Champions
Year Name #
None n/a n/a
Buffalo Bisons N.L. Pennants
Year Record Manager
None n/a n/a
Buffalo Bisons World Championships
Year Opponent M.V.P.
None n/a n/a
Buffalo Bisons Team Statistics Tool
Includes Hitting, Pitching & Fielding Stats
Buffalo Bisons Franchise Facts At-A-Glance
baseball almanac flat baseball

baseball almanac fast facts

The Buffalo Bisons became a "Major League" franchise in 1879 due largely to their 1878 International Association pennant.

During the 1882 season Pud Galvin won twenty-eight (28) of the Bisons forty-five (45) victories, but most newsworthy was the rookie debut of a one-armed pitcher named Hugh Daily who won fifteen (15) games.

Did you know that every manager of the Buffalo Bisons also played with the team during the years they managed?

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