It's been 52 years since the corner of East Ferry and Michigan Avenue saw its last pitch. But John Boutet is set to make sure no one will forget the cultural significance of Offermann Stadium to the sporting landscape of Western New York.
On Saturday, August 11 at 10 a.m., Boutet, the curator of the Buffalo Sports Museum, will unveil a specially designed historical marker that will sit for years to come at the location of the once great ballpark. Baseball fans of all ages are welcome to join Boutet on this special occasion to celebrate baseball's great history in the Queen City.
The plaque will be placed where the pitcher's mound once sat. "It's one of the only grassy spots left," said Boutet of the grounds were the stadium one stood.
Offermann Stadium was actually Bison Stadium from 1924-1934. After team owner Frank J. Offermann's death in 1935, the park was re-named to honor his passing.
The Bisons played in Olympic Park, at the same location as Offermann Stadium, from 1889 until it was rebuilt in 1923 for the new park. Bisons Stadium re-opened on Memorial Day 1924 with third baseman Billy Webb hitting the ballpark's first ever home run. However, it wasn't until June 14, 1957 that Offermann Stadium served as the setting for the most famous Bisons' home run ever hit.
'THE HOME RUN' was hit by Luscious "Luke" Easter...the first ever home run over hit over the centerfield scoreboard at Offermann Stadium. To quote Overfield: "Sixty-five hundred were at the ballpark that night and at least 50,000 now attest they saw it."
Overfield went on to describe one of the most historic moments in Buffalo sports history.
"It was a mild and windless, and there was a trace of haze in the air. In the fourth inning of the second game of the evening's doubleheader, Columbus lefthander Bob Kuzava delivered what he later called 'a perfect pitch' - a knee-high fast ball on the outside of the plate. Easter swung, timed the pitch perfectly and sent it soaring high and deep to centerfield. As the ball disappeared into the haze, there was a mighty roar from the crowd as many fans realized at once what had happened."
During the Herd's time in Offermann, another Bisons legend, Ollie Carnegie, hit the still-standing single-season team record of 45 home runs. Following 1960, the Bisons played in "The Old Rockpile," War Memorial Stadium for 19 seasons, before settling in to their current home, Coca-Cola Field.