Photograph © Bob Gaver
The Bisons dropped the Mets in 1966 and began a new partnership withwith the Cincinnati Reds, who "promptly set the color scheme by assigning Red Davis as manager. The Mets meanwhile went south to Jacksonville’s Wolfson Park. The Reds were able to juice up the Bisons in several areas. Second baseman Len Boehmer played well in the field and hit 19 home runs (.247). Future major league All-star Lee May showed promise with 16 home runs, 78 RBIs and a .310 average. Infielder Steve Boros, who was to make it to the big time as a player and manager, batted .279 and hit 13 home runs. Pitching was improved as well. Jim Duffalo was 12-11, 3.43, Dom Zanni went 11-10, 3.84, Don Rudolph posted an 11-13, 3.06 and Darrell Osteen went 10-3, 2.53. In late July an 18-year-old catching phenom, Johnny Bench, was moved up to Buffalo from the Carolina League. In the very first inning of the first game he played (July 31), he suffered a broken thumb and was out for the season. The injury was witnessed by a crowd of 20,965, announced as the largest International League crowd in Buffalo history. It was not Bench who attracted the big crowd. The park had been bought out by the Meat Cutters and Store Employees Union which then gave the tickets away. The next day the Bisons drew 598. The Bisons were in contention for the play-offs all year and were not eliminated until Sept. 4. Attendance recovered somewhat to 126,914, but 37 percent of that total came on just three dates (Opening Day - 7,336; Meat-cutters' Day - 20,965; Pony Night - 18,655)" *Buffalo Bisons. The team finished with a 72-74 (.493) record.