Photograph © Bob Gaver
In their inaugural season at War Memorial Stadium and a Championship year at that... the Bisons pulled in 259,724 fans, about 19,000 less than they had drawn at Offerman Stadium the season before. The fans resented the archaic new "ballpark" so much that they refused to call it War Memorial Stadium and instead renamed it "The Rockpile". Their new stadium afterall wasn't really a new stadium... just a re-hashing of an old WPA stadium built in 1937 and it was obvious that it wasn't meant for baseball with its makeshift outfield fence that left the LF seating area so far away from the action that they didn't even bother selling tickets there and instead filled it up with more advertising. In the fact the only people who liked the Rockpile, were the power hitters. In 1962, Pancho Herrera came to War Memorial Stadium in the Philadelphia Phillies final year of their PDC and slammed 25 2B, 32 HR and 108 RBI while batting .295. The short "Marine Midland Ad Monster porch" in Right Field was certainly a lot of fun for the hitters. Bob Veale of the Columbus Jets broke the all-time International League record by striking out 22 Bison batters which showed their lackluster abilities. There was however one player who would become a showcase. Ferguson Jenkins came to the ballpark and posted a 1962 would see the emergence of a future superstar. Though he would only pitch in 3 games here, Ferguson Jenkins 1-1, 5.54 record in 3 games at age 19. Little did anyone know that he would soon become a superstar winning 20 games for 6 straight seasons for the Cubs from 1967-1972 before posting a 25-12, 2.82 record in 1974 winning a Cy Young Award and after 19 incredible years... becoming War Memorial Stadium's 1st future Major League Hall of Famer. At 19, he wasn't yet ready to help here however as Buffalo dropped from third to sixth and attendance dropped by 45k to 214,134. This brought an end to the Philadelphia Phillies era that spanned 4 years... 2 years at Offerman Stadium and 2 years at War Memorial Stadium.