Offermann Stadium

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Coordinates: 42°54′54″N 78°51′43″W / 42.915114°N 78.862009°W / 42.915114; -78.862009 Offermann Stadium was a stadium in Buffalo, New York. It was primarily used for baseball and was the home of Buffalo Bisons of the International League. The ballpark had a capacity of 14,000 people and opened in 1924. It was located on the block bounded by East Ferry Street (north, third base), Masten Avenue (east, left field), Woodlawn Avenue (south, right field) and Michigan Avenue (west, first base).

History[edit]

The site on the corner of East Ferry and Michigan Avenue had been in use as a baseball venue since 1889. Buffalo Baseball Park was constructed on the site in that year, replacing Olympic Park as the Bisons' home ballpark.[1][2] The wooden stands served as the Bisons' home stadium through the 1923 season. For 1924, a new steel-and-concrete structure was built on the site. It was initially called Bison Stadium, and was renamed in memory of owner Frank J. Offermann following his death. See "Montreal Gazette" Feb 4, 1935 regarding his death (http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=zBIuAAAAIBAJ&sjid=iJgFAAAAIBAJ&pg=3786%2C402079)


According to one source, this park was the site of the first high-minor league night game, on July 3, 1930, a year in which many minor league teams resorted to lights during the heat of summer as a means of boosting attendance as the Great Depression began to take effect (the majors would not begin using lights until 1935).

The ballpark had fairly cozy dimensions. It was on a rectangular block, with the diamond tilted somewhat counterclockwise relative to the streets. Left field was 321 feet, left center 345, center 400, right center 365, right field line 297. Also, it was reportedly only 33 feet to the backstop. This added up to a hitters park, and several sluggers took advantage, especially Luke Easter, who in the mid-1950s led the International League in home runs despite being over 40 years old. Earlier, in May 1938, the much-traveled Bob "Suitcase" Seeds had hit 7 home runs in two days here.

The ballpark went out with a bang and a whimper in 1960, its final season, as the Bisons made it to the Junior World Series but lost the final game, at home. The next year, they moved about ten blocks straight south on Masten to take up shop at War Memorial Stadium.

Thus the "permanent" version of the ballpark lasted 36 seasons, whereas the "temporary" wooden version had survived for 35. The stadium was eventually demolished and in 1962, Woodlawn Junior High School (eventually renamed Buffalo Traditional School) opened on the site's grounds. In 2008, the site became the new home of the Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts. In August 2012, a historical plaque was dedicated at the site in remembrance of over 72 years of baseball played on the grounds. Local Buffalo sports historian John Boutet spearheaded the project and raised the funds through the Facebook group Buffalo Sports Museum, the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame and the Buffalo Bisons.

Preceded by
Buffalo Baseball Park
Home of the
Buffalo Bisons

1924-1960
Succeeded by
War Memorial Stadium

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ Buffalo Bisons History bisons.com accessed 19-APR-2008
  2. ^ When Baseball came to Richmond Avenue richomndavenue.org accessed 19-APR-2008
  • Ballparks of North America, by Michael Benson, McFarland, 1989
  • Lost Ballparks, by Lawrence S. Ritter, Penguin, 1992