Seemingly overnight, the Bisons were back to being a contenting team. The Indians had a very fertile farm system led by two future Major League All-Stars… Brian Giles (18 2B, 15 HR, .310) and Jeromy Burnitz (26 2B, 19 HR, 85 RBI, .284). Giles would go on to have 4 straight seasons of hitting 35 HRs or more, with his best season coming in 1999 when he hit 39 HRs and batted .315 for the Pirates. Burnitz meanwhile came to the Indians organization from the Mets and would go on to have 4 straight seasons of 31 HR or more with his best season coming in 1998 when he hit 38 HR and batted .263 for the Brewers. On the supporting side, Cal Ripken Jr’s brother, Billy Ripken would hit 34 2B and bat .292 and Luis Lopez would hit 21 2B, 17 HR and bat .262. On the mound, rising star Joe Roa would never make the big splash that was expected in the Majors but in Triple-A, he was downright sensational, breaking the Coca-Cola pitching records by going 17-3 with a 3.50 ERA. As of 2010, those 17 wins still stand as Coca-Cola Field's all time record. Eric Bell also pitched well posting a 13-9, 3.90. In the bullpen Alan Embree (3-4-5 Sv, 0.89), Paul Shuey (1-2-11 Sv, 2.63) and future MLB All-Star Gregg Olson (1-0-13 Sv., 2.49) shared closing duties. The Bisons finished a very respectable 82-62 (.569) which brought them back into the playoffs where they made quick work of Omaha in the first round, winning 3 games to 1. This brought them into the finals where they would make their 3rd attempt to bring a championship home to Coca-Cola Field. They would face the Louisville RedBirds who would feature neither the hitting nor the pitching of the Bisons. Still, the held on strong tying the series at 2-2. With the final game coming back to Coca-Cola Field, 16,500 fans came to the ballpark to witness the RedBirds edge out the Bisons as Buffalo lost its third attempt to bring home a championship to the new ballpark.