Weekly Feature



2017-03-30 / Lifestyles

‘Baseball in Buffalo’

New book relives Queen City’s greatest baseball moments
by NICK KONOTOPSKYJ
Reporter


This aerial photograph shows Offermann Stadium, which was the Buffalo Bisons ballpark from 1924 to 1935. The stadium was named in memory of owner Frank J. Offermann following his death. This photo is part of a collection from the Buffalo History Museum. This aerial photograph shows Offermann Stadium, which was the Buffalo Bisons ballpark from 1924 to 1935. The stadium was named in memory of owner Frank J. Offermann following his death. This photo is part of a collection from the Buffalo History Museum. The city of Buffalo has had a baseball team every year since 1859. That’s 157 straight years. With history like that, it only makes sense to document those teams, ballparks, box scores and photographs for today’s baseball fans to teach them about the rich history of Buffalo baseball.

Buffalo native Paul Langendorfer was able to accomplish this with his book, “Baseball in Buffalo,” which was officially published on March 20.

The 128-page book features black-and-white photos along with baseball facts on the important players, teams, owners and more from Buffalo’s baseball teams dating from the 1859 Buffalo Niagaras — the city’s first organized baseball team — through the 1985 season.


Paul Langendorfer, 44, is the author of “Baseball in Buffalo,” which was published on March 20. Langendorfer was born and raised in Buffalo and now resides in Aurora, Colorado. He is a member of the Society of American Baseball Research. Paul Langendorfer, 44, is the author of “Baseball in Buffalo,” which was published on March 20. Langendorfer was born and raised in Buffalo and now resides in Aurora, Colorado. He is a member of the Society of American Baseball Research. Langendorfer, 44, received his bachelor’s degree in English from Canisius College before earning his master’s degree from the University of Colorado. He has resided in Aurora, Colorado, for the last 22 years.

Baseball has been a huge part of his life since he was a child, so writing the book was like a dream come true.

“I wrote this book for the love of the game and the love of this city,” Langendorfer said. “I have a passion for vintage baseball, and this was always something I wanted to do. When I got the opportunity to write the book through Arcadia [Publishing], I knew I had to go ahead with this.”

It was also in large part because of the Buffalo History Museum, since that is where he photographed the collections and artifacts of these teams and stadiums.

“I grew up as a Yankees and Bisons fan, and as a kid my dad would take me to Bisons games all of the time. From an early age, I would keep track of the box score, and I actually still do that when I’m at games,” Langendorfer said. “Vintage baseball is totally different to me because the game has changed so much. I find it fascinating to look at the early history with some of the teams Buffalo has had.”

From Luke Easter, to Ollie Carnegie, Jeff Manto and countless others, Buffalo has seen its fair share of baseball talent in the better part of 160 years.

“We have had some really outstanding players come through and stay in Buffalo for long careers,” Langendorfer said. “These players were like the Babe Ruths of their day, and they were treated with a huge fan base. Most people in Western New York are familiar with the recent history of the Bisons. This book will give people a chance to learn about teams and players from well before their time.”

One prime example is Connie Mack, a part-time owner and catcher for the 1890 Bisons, which was part of the Players’ League. He was also a manager and currently has the most managerial wins in the history of baseball.

Another household name is Johnny Bench, a two-time World Series Champion and 10-time Gold Glove catcher. He played for the Bisons in the 1976 and 1977 seasons before getting called up to the Cincinnati Reds.

Langendorfer is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research and has written several book reviews for the “Inside Game” newsletter. He also writes biographies for the society’s biography project.

His current biography project is about Jack Rowe, who played for the Buffalo Bisons from 1881 to 1885. He was part of “The Big Four” on the team, along with Dan Brouthers, Hardy Richardson and Deacon White. After their four seasons with the Bisons, they all went to play for the Detroit Wolverines.

“Looking back at this city’s history is really important, and with this book, I feel as though I was able to find my niche,” Langendorfer said.

Langendorfer was recently at the Buffalo History Museum on March 25, where he was signing copies of his new book.

“Baseball in Buffalo” is available for $21.99 on Arcadia Publishing’s website as well as through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. To learn more or to purchase a copy, visit arcadiapublishing.com.

Page design: gcinotti@beenews.com

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