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.
The Buffalo Bisons became a "Major League" franchise in 1879 due largely to their 1878 International Association pennant.
During the 1882 season
won twenty-eight (28) of the Bisons forty-five (45) victories, but most newsworthy was the rookie debut of a one-armed pitcher named
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?