Photograph Bob Gaver

"The Bisons' return to Triple-A baseball was a rousing success off the field even though it was a bumpy ride on the diamond. Buffalo finished third in the American Association East with a 66-76 record, eight games behind eventual league champion Louisville, but posted the fourth-highest attendance in its history as it sold 362,762 tickets -- the most since 1957. The Bisons were 13-6 in April and were 22-12 midway through May but went just 44-64 the rest of the way as a league-worst 4.30 ERA and a winless record in nine doubleheaders (four losses, five splits) conspired against their title hopes. Catcher Joel Skinner (.241-12-59) and utility man Steve Christmas (.298-16-56) were named to the Association All-star team. First baseman Joe De Sa and outfielder Mark Ryal shared the team RBI lead with 66 and De Sa belted a team-high 17 home runs. Bill Long led the pitching staff with a 13-6 record while Steve Fireovid's 3.01 ERA was third in the Association. Nick Capra was the first Buffalo batter and Bob Fallon the pitcher of record in Buffalo's first modern-era Triple-A game, a 3-1 loss April 11 at Nashville. Long got the first win in an 8-0 silencing of the Sounds in game three on April 14. The home opener on April 20 against Louisville was one of the season's most memorable games as 21,128 saw Fireovid post a 7-2 win over the Redbirds. The White Sox came to town for a May 2 exhibition game that saw future Hall of Famers Tom Seaver and Carlton Fisk in uniform. A Beach Boys concert (shown above, photographed by Bob Gaver) drew the season's largest crowd as 26,696 saw the July 6 game against Nashville. De Sa and Jose Castro both belted grand slams during a 10-4 win over Omaha on July 23, still the only time the Herd has done that in a game. In conjunction with the team's return to Triple-A and its 100th anniversary, the Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame was founded to honor players and contributors from the city's baseball heritage." *Buffalo Bisons