10 Buffalo Bisons MiLB Facts You Didn’t Know

By: Sports Teller


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10 Buffalo Bisons MiLB Facts You Didn’t Know

The Buffalo Bisons are one of Triple-A Baseball’s exciting teams every sports fan needs to learn about. In fact, the New York-based franchise is a high-level farm club for the Toronto Blue Jays. Any Buffalo fan that bleeds Bisons red and blue will know every information possible, from the team winning the International League title in 2004 to Buster T. Bison being the official mascot. However, there are new Buffalo Bisons MiLB facts that many baseball supporters never knew or never heard of in their lives. For details on what facts baseball fans rarely knew about, please refer to 10 Buffalo Bisons MiLB Facts You Didn’t Know below!

10: Someone Broke Into Sahlen Field and Damaged the Field in 2021

Over the past half a century, there have been some rare ballpark stories that took place across the country. For example, a couple of construction workers were fired in 2008 after a noose was discovered at the Nationals Park site. Another example is that a Red Sox fan broke into the Yankee Stadium construction area and buried a David Ortiz jersey in the cement. One more thing to include is that an electrician sued the White Sox over a career-injury he suffered while working at the then-U.S. Cellular Field. But for Sahlen Field, the downtown ballpark has one of those rare stories that fans probably won’t remember in the future. 

In July 2021, an unidentified individual somehow broke into the Bisons stadium and did significant damage to the playing surface. That individual used a forklift to drive around the infield, with the vehicle’s heavy weight ruining the field. During the investigation, local law enforcement authorities declared that it would cost about $20,000 to repair the damage. As the investigation went on, the individual responsible for the incident was never captured or taken into custody. Fortunately, the vandalism event did not impact the Buffalo Bisons as they were able to play their next homestand without any incident on the playing surface. 

9: There’s a Full-Service Restaurant at the Buffalo Bisons Stadium

No matter if a fan is a one-time visitor or a season ticket holder, he or she would get something to eat at the stadium. For instance, spectators can find tasty food items from concession stands in the 3rd base or 1st base concourses. Another thing to add is that there are movable carts like pretzels and hot dogs located throughout the venue. But sometimes, ballparks can modify their overall game-day experience by providing a waiter-style restaurant inside the venues. Fortunately, for the Buffalo Bisons, they have a full-service restaurant inside Sahlen Field. 

Located on the 1st base side of the park, there is an eatery that has over a dozen tables. That eatery is a waiter-style restaurant called Consumer’s Pub at the Park, which serves all ticket holders. Not only can guests get a view of the baseball game from the first base side, but they can also get a glimpse of Downtown Buffalo. Anyway, Consumer’s Pub at the Park usually offers traditional ballpark fare like cheeseburgers and sandwiches. The restaurant is a unique experience in the Minor Leagues because only two other Triple-A stadiums provide that offer: Principal Park-Iowa and Harbor Park-Norfolk

8: Original Designs for Sahlen Field Included the 3rd Level Instead of a Canopy Roof

Sahlen Field is one of Western New York’s most beloved sports stadiums for baseball fans and spectators in general to enjoy. For every seat at the Bisons stadium, fans could have the views of Downtown Buffalo. In addition, Sahlen Field is located not far from KeyBank Center (home of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres). But during the Bisons venue’s early days, there was a different stadium design that never came to fruition. In fact, the original designs for Sahlen Field included the 3rd level instead of a canopy roof. 

When the then-Pilot Field opened its doors in the late 1980s, it was built as the framework for a possible MLB expansion club in Buffalo. The Western New York city appeared to be a good candidate for such an honor since it had a great sports market presence from the Sabres and Bills. Anyway, Buffalo would have needed to upgrade its baseball field if the town was going to have any chance of claiming an expansion franchise. In order to meet MLB standards, the original design for the Bisons facility was to have a 300 level to increase seating capacity. Unfortunately, Buffalo never received a big league expansion club and the city now supports the Triple-A team in the Bisons. 

7: The Montreal Expos Nearly Relocated to Buffalo During the 1990s

The Montreal Expos are perhaps the most notable Major League team that dealt with relocation. The Expos played in the big leagues from 1969 until 2004 at the Olympic Stadium. Even though the venue was the home for the 1976 Summer Olympics, it was becoming outdated and old in the later years. Also, the Expos didn’t have much history in the playoffs other than the Championship Series run in 1981 and a great record in the player strike-shortened season in 1994. But did you know that the Expos nearly relocated to Buffalo during the 1990s? 

In 1990, Bisons owner Bob Rich II expressed interest in acquiring the Expos and moving them to Western New York. If Buffalo were to claim the Expos, then a new stadium would have needed to be upgraded to meet MLB standards. However, then-Montreal owner Charles Bronfman turned down that offer and the Expos remained in Canada for another 14 years. Following the failed attempt to buy the Expos, the city of Buffalo was under consideration for MLB expansion in 1993. Longtime media announcer Larry King was going to be a part of the ownership group had Buffalo won the bid. Eventually, the 1993 expansion clubs went to Florida and Colorado and the Expos moved to Washington D.C. in 2005. 

6: Before Sahlen Field, the Current Bisons Ballpark had Four Different Names

For most of the time, sports teams usually tend to generate profit by securing a naming rights collaborator. Those franchises would reach out to either a local firm or a big-name company. If both sides strike a deal, then that means they will have a good business relationship. However, naming rights deals’ lifespan can vary from either a short-term pact or a long-term partnership. Believe it or not, the current Bisons stadium had four different names before becoming Sahlen Field. 

When the baseball venue opened in 1988, it was referred to as Pilot Field. Seven years later, the Bisons stadium became North AmeriCare Park (that partnership lasted for just four seasons). In 1999, the downtown ballpark changed its name to Dunn Tire Park (a local car tire firm). The deal would last for nearly ten years, as the Bisons facility rebranded as Coca-Cola Field in 2009. Last but not least, the stadium changed its name to the currently-known Sahlen Field in 2018. For most of those names, they represent local firms that originated in either Buffalo or Western New York. 

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5: Bisons Stadium is One of Two Active Triple-A Ballparks to Host Multiple All-Star Games

Over the past 35-plus years, Sahlen Field has witnessed some pretty exciting baseball events. For example, the Buffalo Bisons won the International League Championship in 2004. In addition, the Western New York venue served as the home for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2020 and parts of 2021. Bisons baseball is one of New York’s most visited Minor League Baseball attractions, along with the Syracuse Mets, Rochester Red Wings, Brooklyn Cyclones, Hudson Valley Renegades, and Staten Island FerryHawks. But for Sahlen Field, it is one of two active Triple-A facilities to host multiple All-Star Games. The other one was Smith’s Ballpark, home of the Salt Lake Bees (1996 and 2011)

In 1988, the Bisons stadium served as the inaugural host of the Minor League’s Midsummer Classic. Future MLB stars like C Sandy Alomar Jr. (Las Vegas) and INF Joey Cora (Las Vegas) were on hand as Team American defeated Team National 2-1. In 2012, the mid-season event returned to Buffalo as Team Pacific Coast managed to beat Team international 3-0. Eventual baseball legends took part in that 2012 contest such as OF Wil Myers (Omaha), OF Adam Eaton (Reno), and INF Adeiny Hechavarria (Las Vegas). By the way, the Empire State got to host the Triple-A All-Star Game three times: Rochester (2000) and Buffalo (1988 and 2012). 

4: Sahlen Field has Never Hosted a No-Hitter Since it Opened in 1988

Accomplishing a no-hitter is one of baseball’s rarest gems spectators can encounter in their lives. This achievement takes place when a starting pitcher goes through nine innings without giving up any hits. In more rare situations, no-hitters can occur in a combined effort if a starting pitcher is unable to continue due to injury. Perhaps the most difficult challenge for a pitcher is tossing a perfect game, where a pitcher throws nine innings without any hits or baserunners. But for the Buffalo Bisons, they have never thrown a no-hitter in their current stadium. 

As a matter of fact, Sahlen Field is one of the couple Triple-A venues to never host a no-no (the others are AutoZone Park-Memphis and Smith’s Ballpark-Salt Lake). That being said, however, the Buffalo Bisons were involved in two no-hitters on the road since the 21st century began. In 2003, Pawtucket Red Sox (now Worcester Red Sox) right-hander Bronson Arroyo threw a perfect game against Buffalo in Rhode Island. During the 2019 season, Bisons pitcher T.J. Zeuch tossed a no-hitter vs. Rochester Red Wings in New York. Despite hosting multiple All-Star Games and Toronto Blue Jays home games during the pandemic, Sahlen Field has yet to witness a no-hitter. 

3: Since the 2000s, the Buffalo Bisons had Two League MVP Winners

Winning a major award is considered a huge deal in professional baseball, especially for those who are trying to get to the big leagues. If a person wins Rookie of the Year or Pitcher of the Year, then this accomplishment could enhance his chances of getting called up to the Major Leagues. In addition, that person might face the chance of receiving an invite to Spring Training from his team’s parent club. Luckily, for the Bisons, they have made Buffalo proud by winning two MVP awards since the 2000s. As a matter of fact, the team has won player awards along with one of the best sporting venues in Western New York. 

In 2004, INF Jhonny Peralta claimed International League MVP honors by batting 0.326 with 15 home runs and 86 runs batted in. Peralta would go on to have a great MLB career as he became a three-time All-Star with Cleveland, Detroit, and St. Louis. Also, he led the Tigers to three Championship Series appearances (2011-2013) and a 2012 World Series berth. In 2015, INF Matt Hague won the MVP Award with a 0.338 batting average with 11 long balls and 92 RBIs. Even though Hague spent some time in the big leagues, he never had the same success as Peralta had. 

2: The Bisons had Four MLB Partners Since Their Current Ballpark Opened in 1988

The Buffalo Bisons have one of Triple-A Baseball’s longest-running farm club partnerships. Since 2013, the Bisons have served as the high-level affiliate for the Toronto Blue Jays. Since that partnership began, the Blue Jays have reached the Championship Series two times and played temporary home games at Sahlen Field during the global pandemic. But interestingly, the Blue Jays were not Buffalo’s original collaborators when the Bisons opened their current stadium in 1988. In fact, the Western New York baseball club had been working with four different Major League partners since the late 1980s. 

First, the Pittsburgh Pirates became a collaborator for Buffalo in 1988 as part of the team’s transition to their new downtown facility. Seven years later, the formerly-named Cleveland Indians struck a deal with the Bisons that lasted for the next 13 years. In 2009, the New York Mets became the official parent club for Buffalo after Cleveland decided to settle on the Columbus Clippers as the new Triple-A team.

Four years later, the Bisons found their current partner in the Toronto Blue Jays since the Western New York city was close to the north of the border. Even though the Bisons/Blue Jays pact is currently a long-running partnership, the Buffalo franchise has collaborated with a total of four big league teams since Sahlen Field made its debut. 

1: Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra has Played the Most Shows at Sahlen Field

It is an exciting practice for professional baseball facilities to host live music concerts. In fact, there are Major League teams that previously hosted large scale shows. Those teams were the following: Mariners, Diamondbacks, Cubs, Brewers, Tigers, Orioles, Blue Jays, Yankees, and many more. Concerts can vary with either a post-game event or just a stand alone performance during the off-season. But believe it or not, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra has played the most shows at Sahlen Field. And that doesn’t count singing at National Anthems or performing as a stand-alone event other than baseball. 

Since 1995, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra has been playing at least one show a year at the Bisons stadium. The main reason behind the impressive streak is that the classical music group takes part in the team’s annual Fourth of July event. The orchestra would play American patriotic music along with special guests. The Fourth of July event also showcases huge fireworks displays and special holiday-themed uniforms worn by players. Other than the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, the next musical act to perform the most shows at Sahlen Field was the 50s rock group The Beach Boys (who have played there over seven times). 

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