Shuffling Off From Buffalo

MLB has left the building.

It is all over for Buffalo as a Major League Baseball city. The Toronto Blue Jays franchise is going back to Ontario starting July 30th so there is no need to use Buffalo’s baseball park for home games anymore. Buffalo will revert to Triple A Baseball. Major League Baseball is not knocking on Buffalo’s door with Las Vegas, Nashville, Vancouver, Portland, Oregon and Montreal lobbying for teams. Buffalo is not on MLB’s radar. Buffalo had two chances at landing an MLB expansion team. One was in 1968 and the other in the early 1990s. Buffalo was passed over twice. Buffalo did have a National League team between 1879 and 1885. Buffalo had a team in the 1890 Players League and in the Federal League’s two years of existence in 1914 and 1915.

At one time Buffalo was a very wealthy city because of the Erie Canal and shipping. In 1900, the city had the wherewithal to have a successful Major League Baseball team. The Western League was about ready to evolve into the American League and claim major league status. Ban Johnson who ran the enterprise looked at the Buffalo market and decided Buffalo did not fit into his business plan. In 1967, Kansas City A’s owner Charles Finley moved his team to Oakland which prompted Congress to think about reviewing the antitrust business exemption given to Major League Baseball in 1922. To counter that, the Lords of Baseball decided to expand by four teams. The National League granted franchises to San Diego and Montreal but there was a stadium issue in Montreal. Buffalo might have been in line to get the franchise if Montreal’s stadium situation could not be worked out. Montreal did get a stadium. Buffalo struck out in a 1991 expansion bid. Buffalo today is too small a market for MLB.

Evan Weiner’s books are available at iTunes –