Photograph © Bob Gaver
The new "New York Mets" affiliation proved to be un-impressive to the Buffalo Bisons fanbase which dropped in 1963 to an alarmingly low 136,020 and went $25k into debt. Everyone from the Manager to the President to nearly the entire board of directors was fired. Under the new regime, the 1964 Mets Triple-A team brought the very exciting Duke Carmel who had an amazing season, hitting 20 2B, an all time War Memorial Stadium record of 35 HR (which still hasn't been topped at the new Coca-Cola Field) along with 99 RBI and a .271. The Bisons also featured Choo Choo Coleman (10 HR, .285), Joe Hicks (18 HR, .282) and the next future MLB All-Star of the Bisons to come from the Rockpile… outfielder Cleon Jones (22 2B, 16 HR, .278). Cleon Jones would go on to hit .340 for the Miracle Mets of 1969, a batting title which stood until John Olerud hit .354 in 1998. Also making his Triple-A debut was Ed Kranepool who was promoted for 64 At Bats and hit an outstanding 4 2B and 3 HR while batting .352 (1.083 OPS). Kranepool would go on to set many Mets records which still stand today. Attendance increased a little to 160,000 but that wasn't nearly enough and the Bisons were hemorrhaging cash to the tune of 72k. As another new group bought the Bisons, attendance withered to 97,695 (which is low by Short Season Single-A baseball... never mind Triple-A). The club announced it had lost $55,382" *Buffalo Bisons. The final record stood at a horrible 51-96 (.347). With that the New York Mets were dropped as Buffalo's PDC after 3 seasons as they were sent packing to Jacksonville's Sam Wolfson Park where all of the great 1969 Mets would be developed including Tom Seaver. With the Cincinnati Reds taking their place however... there was plenty of amazing talent about to come to War Memorial Stadium but with it... a war that would send this team fleeing from their "new home".