The Buffalo Bisons organization is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former Bisons pitcher and Western New York native WERNER "BABE" BIRRER today at the age of 85 years of age.
Birrer was the oldest living member of the Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame. A right-handed pitcher out of Kensington High School, Birrer was signed to a Detroit Tiger contract in 1947 by scout Cy Williams. He pitched professionally from 1947 to 1966, interrupted by two years of military service (he hit 29 home runs playing for the 7th Army Corps in Germany in 1954). Overall, he made 589 appearances and won 143 games.
Birrer pitched in nine seasons for his hometown Bisons (1952, '55, '60-'66). The only Bison pitcher to match that record was Buffalo Hall of Famer, Jim Galvin. He also saw Major League action over parts of three seasons with Detroit, Baltimore and Los Angeles. His most memorable Major League game occurred at Tiger Stadium on August 19, 1955 when he hit two, three-run home runs and pitched four scoreless innings in a 12-4 Tigers win.
After his playing career, Birrer taught physical education in Buffalo and suburban schools, and coached baseball at every level from midget to high school.