Buffalo is subject to very powerful weather systems thanks to the Great Lakes and is notorious for brutally long, snowy winters and very cold springs. No doubt this has been one of the leading reasons why Buffalo was rejected time after time by Major League Baseball. As a Minor League facility however, Coca Cola Field has served Buffalo very proudly as a Triple-A home. When it opened in 1988 to the tune of $40 million dollars, it was easily the nicest stadium in the league. The fans meanwhile wanted to prove to the Bison's new affiliate, the Pirates, that they belonged here in Buffalo... not Pittsburgh. They would come out to the new ballpark during the 1988 inaugural season, 1.18 million strong! The 1.18 million broke the Louisville Redbirds’ all time Minor League attendance record set in 1983 of 1,052,000. It was also, only the second time in history that any Minor League team, (at any level) had broken the 1 million mark. If that wasn’t enough to be proud of, Coca Cola Field also had the 23rd highest baseball attendance on the North American continent... including the Major Leagues. The Bisons 1.186 million outdrew the Atlanta Braves, the Chicago White Sox and the Seattle Mariners. (Keep in mind that the Minor League season ends in early September while the Major Leagues play on for another whole month, until October). Not only were the Bisons playing in a Major League like facility… they were drawing like one! The 1988 Bisons would feature Benny Distefano. Benny's 26 2B, 19 HRs and 63 RBIs (.263), led the team and the new stadium in doubles, HRs and RBIs. Beranardo Tatis (27 SB, .234) meanwhile, led in steals. On the mound, Dave Johnson (15-12, 3.51) led the team in wins and Donald Taylor (10-8) had a fine ERA at 2.14 (which of 2010, was still the best ever at Coca-Cola Park). Randy Kramer was also effective going 10-8 with a 3.13. The Bisons finished Coca-Cola Field’s inaugurual season, 2 games above .500 in 3rd place.