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War Memorial Stadium - Buffalo, NY

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  • War Memorial Stadium - Buffalo, NY

    I was watching The Natural on television last night and just couldn't help noticing what a strange and unique ballpark War Memorial Stadium was. Clearly, it was built with football first in mind, with the majority of seating going down the third base line, but it reminded me a lot of Cleveland Stadium with the Depression era architecture and the vast emptiness.

    Did anyone on this board ever get a chance to go to War Memorial Stadium, and if so, what were their impressions of the place. Does anyone have any good pictures? I found a few:









    (Thanks to frontier.net, stadiumsofnfl.com, and buffalohistoryworks.com for the pictures)

    I found it interesting how the Bisons clustered a bunch of their signage in the center field stands, and how the roofed pavillion in right field resembled Tiger Stadium, Old Comiskey Park, or for us young uns, The Ballpark in Arlington.

    On a somewhat related note, when it comes to The Natural, did you prefer the book ending where Hobbs strikes out, or the movie ending where Hobbs goes yard and the light tower explodes and shoots fireworks? Call me a sentimentalist--and I'm sure the author had his reasons for making Hobbs strike out--but I'm a sucker for the happy ending any day.

  • #2
    Great topic, great pics.

    As far as the Natural, I myself prefer the movie version. The book version is too similar to Casey and the Mudville Nine. Just that scene with the light exploding, the whole way its shot is magic, to me.

    Comment


    • #3
      Another great link...

      PeteU-I recalled that Buffalo's War Memorial Stadium was locally referred to as the "Rockpile". An Internet search yielded this site:

      Buffalo's "Rockpile"

      Make sure that you go all the way to the bottom of the first page-there's a link there that will lead you to 3 more pages of photos and text, including a photo of Robert Redford in the stadium.

      Construction on War Memorial Stadium was started in 1935 by the WPA (Works Progress Administration) and completed in 1938.

      I recall that for at least 1 year in the late 1960's the Buffalo Bisons were the Washington Senators AAA farm team. They changed affiliations in 1969 to the Montreal Expos and in 1970 the Expos moved the Bisons out of Buffalo in mid-season to Winnipeg, to resume play as the Winnipeg Whips. You can read more here:

      Buffalo Bisons/Winnipeg Whips
      Last edited by Aa3rt; 09-03-2007, 10:02 AM.
      "For the Washington Senators, the worst time of the year is the baseball season." Roger Kahn

      "People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring." Rogers Hornsby.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by PeteU View Post
        So what was the distance down the rightfield line anyway?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by PeteU View Post
          I was watching The Natural on television last night and just couldn't help noticing what a strange and unique ballpark War Memorial Stadium was. Clearly, it was built with football first in mind, with the majority of seating going down the third base line, but it reminded me a lot of Cleveland Stadium with the Depression era architecture and the vast emptiness.

          Did anyone on this board ever get a chance to go to War Memorial Stadium, and if so, what were their impressions of the place. Does anyone have any good pictures? I found a few:









          (Thanks to frontier.net, stadiumsofnfl.com, and buffalohistoryworks.com for the pictures)

          I found it interesting how the Bisons clustered a bunch of their signage in the center field stands, and how the roofed pavillion in right field resembled Tiger Stadium, Old Comiskey Park, or for us young uns, The Ballpark in Arlington.

          On a somewhat related note, when it comes to The Natural, did you prefer the book ending where Hobbs strikes out, or the movie ending where Hobbs goes yard and the light tower explodes and shoots fireworks? Call me a sentimentalist--and I'm sure the author had his reasons for making Hobbs strike out--but I'm a sucker for the happy ending any day.
          I grew up in Buffalo and as far back as I can go remember the Buffalo Bisons of the International League and the football Bills using the park. I do recall as a young boy my dad taking me to track events and some Saturday night stock car races. At one time it was called Civic Stadium.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Seattle1 View Post
            So what was the distance down the rightfield line anyway?
            I found a another thread where the dimensions are listed as: L 350, C 410, R 310. (That right field line measurement looks a tad questionable to me.)
            "For the Washington Senators, the worst time of the year is the baseball season." Roger Kahn

            "People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring." Rogers Hornsby.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Aa3rt View Post
              I found a another thread where the dimensions are listed as: L 350, C 410, R 310. (That right field line measurement looks a tad questionable to me.)
              Yeah it looks a lot shorter than that if you ask me.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Seattle1 View Post
                Yeah it looks a lot shorter than that if you ask me.
                Can't be much more than 250 ft., if that.

                That's a cool park, but I'd hate to be sitting in the back of the 3rd base grandstand--you'd have TWO sets of poles to see through! :o I've never seen that before or since.

                Actually, it kind of reminds me of Portland's ballpark:

                Comment


                • #9
                  I saw both baseball and football games at the stadium. I remember seeing Johnny Bench there in 1967 just a few days before he was called up to the Reds. Of course the true Buffalo ballpark was Offerman Stadium which was torn down after the 1960 season:

                  http://fixbuffalo.blogspot.com/2006/...dium-1956.html

                  http://www.flickr.com/photos/fixbuffalo/203578028/

                  http://www.rootsweb.com/~usgenweb/ny...ards/bison.jpg

                  War Memorial looks primitive today but iin the 60s a number of NFL teams were playing in smaller facilities. The Kansas City Chiefs were still playing at Municipal Stadium in 1971, which I'm sure was smaller than War Memorial.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Rome Colonel View Post
                    War Memorial looks primitive today but iin the 60s a number of NFL teams were playing in smaller facilities. The Kansas City Chiefs were still playing at Municipal Stadium in 1971, which I'm sure was smaller than War Memorial.
                    Wrigley Field was still home of the Bears in 1970.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      War Memorial Stadium

                      Here is a nice pin .
                      Attached Files
                      LONG LIVE THE POLO GROUNDS 1891-1964
                      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/POLOGROUNDS1962

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Rome Colonel View Post
                        I saw both baseball and football games at the stadium. I remember seeing Johnny Bench there in 1967 just a few days before he was called up to the Reds. Of course the true Buffalo ballpark was Offerman Stadium which was torn down after the 1960 season:

                        http://fixbuffalo.blogspot.com/2006/...dium-1956.html

                        http://www.flickr.com/photos/fixbuffalo/203578028/

                        http://www.rootsweb.com/~usgenweb/ny...ards/bison.jpg

                        War Memorial looks primitive today but iin the 60s a number of NFL teams were playing in smaller facilities. The Kansas City Chiefs were still playing at Municipal Stadium in 1971, which I'm sure was smaller than War Memorial.
                        Thanks for the great pics, Looked like there were houses right over the wall! I wounder if their houses got hit with homeruns
                        39 AL Pennants • 26 World Series titles
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                        • #13
                          speaking of watching "The Natural", i saw it again, too, and noticed even more glaring errors in the flick. i remember in one of the scenes, redford hits a WALK-OFF HR in the TOP of a ninth inning, but the other evening i noticed the pitcher WOUND UP with runners on 1st and 3rd! the stadium is beautiful though (IMHO). i would have loved to play there. pete
                          you can take the Dodgers out of Brooklyn, but you can't take the Brooklyn out of the DODGERS
                          http://brooklyndodgermemories.freeforums.org/

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                          • #14
                            War Memorial Stadium

                            Here is a seating diagram of the stadium.
                            Attached Files
                            LONG LIVE THE POLO GROUNDS 1891-1964
                            http://groups.yahoo.com/group/POLOGROUNDS1962

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Locker Room

                              Here is a photo showing the bisons locker room at war memorial stadium.
                              Attached Files
                              LONG LIVE THE POLO GROUNDS 1891-1964
                              http://groups.yahoo.com/group/POLOGROUNDS1962

                              Comment

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