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Busch Stadium / Buff Stadium - Houston TX

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  • Busch Stadium / Buff Stadium - Houston TX

    I found this through an image search. It's a blog site but it had some cool pics of the minor league stadium in Houston named Busch Stadium (formerly Buff Stadium).

    http://images.google.com/imgres?imgu...%3Den%26sa%3DN
    Attached Files
    sigpic

  • #2
    Those light towers are very bizarre.

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    • #3
      A little insight on this stadium...

      It is a lot, but this is a sampling of what I have in regards to the stadium.

      It was originally named Buff Stadium, home of the Texas League Houston Buffs.

      1922- The Buffs are sold from John Crooker to Branch Rickey and the St. Louis Cardinals organization. The club stock was placed into team President H.L. “Robbie” Robertson’s name which granted complete control of the team. In 1924 the arrangement between Robertson and Rickey would break over a deal concerning Chick Hafey, an outstanding Buffs outfielder. Despite having 42% ownership of the Buffs, the Cardinals insisted the team deal with them just as they would any other. Upon requesting the asking price for Hafey’s services Business Manager Fred Ankenman told the Cardinals $20,000 would be the going rate for a player of that stature. Sam Breadon, President of the Cardinals, protested to no avail but the team would be in danger of losing Hafey to the draft season so he paid the Buffs asking price. The Buffs agreed to also send catcher Harry McCurdy in the deal with St. Louis. Thus a breakup between Robertson and the St. Louis club occurred although he remained President of the Buffs through the 1925 season, by which time the Cardinals would have complete ownership and control of the club. Chick Hafey would make his major league debut with the Cardinals on August 24th and remain with them through 1931 before going to the Cincinnati Reds from 1932-37. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971.

      St. Louis negotiated with the Texas League for permission to take over ownership of the Buffs with the promise of constructing a new stadium that would be among the finest in the United States. Fred Ankenman was retained and promoted to President and General Manager of the Buffs. The Buffs would remain affiliated with the Cardinals until 1958. Branch Rickey had tried to make the relationship with Houston subtle as Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis did not approve of a minor league (or “farm”) system to support players for Major League Baseball.

      4/11/28- Buff Stadium opens on a site just east of downtown Houston. The $400,000 ballpark welcomed approximately 15,000 fans (the largest in Houston history at the time) and saw Texas Governor Dan Moody toss the ceremonial first pitch to Mayor Oscar Holcombe behind the plate. Jesse H. Jones served as the umpire for the first pitch and still called Moody’s pitch a strike. The honored guest and speaker at the opening was Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, the Commissioner of Major League Baseball.

      The Buffs beat the Waco Cubs 7-5 on the strength of four hits from second baseman Carey Selph. Buffs starting pitcher Ken Penner (a 19 game winner in 1927) held the Cubs in check after giving up nine hits in the first three innings. Manager Frank “Pancho” Snyder played catcher, ripped two doubles and scored three times. The 1928 Houston Buffs would go on to win the Dixie Series Championship against Wichita Falls under Synder’s direction.

      Buff Stadium featured large cooling fans that helped keep mosquitoes away. Soft drinks were five cents and the rumbling of nearby trains could be heard. The official capacity of Buff Stadium was listed at 13,697. Two large buffalo cut-outs were located on either side of the center field scoreboard. The Houston-Post Dispatch credited Buff’s President Fred Ankenman for making Buff Stadium a reality. Radio station KPRC carried the game live marking the first home broadcast for the Buffs. Prior to 1928 it was believed by the Texas League that broadcasting home games would hurt home attendance. This opinion had changed with the excitement over the new home of the Buffs. Broadcast booths had been installed about a month prior to the opening game at Buff Stadium.

      1930- Night games at Buff Stadium are now made possible by the installation of a lighting system.

      2/3/31- Buff Stadium is the site of the first night game between two major league teams as the Chicago White Sox and the New York Giants play an exhibition game that goes 10 innings.

      1950- The first air-conditioned ladies restroom at Buff Stadium is opened.

      6/19/58- The Houston Sports Association formally applies for admission into the National League. An application to the American League would be filed one month later. During this time, the St. Louis Cardinals offer the HSA the option to buy the Houston Buffs. It was thought of by Buffs management that the HSA would cut into interest of the team by pursuing a major league franchise. The HSA contended that the drop in attendance was due to more games broadcast on television. The Buffs were instead sold to Milton Fischman and Marty Marion, a former St. Louis Cardinals player.

      In Houston, 1961 marked the end of an era and would develop a dream come true for local public relations man and Houston Sports Association executive George Kirksey. The 1961 baseball season would be the last one in which Houston would be listed in the sports page under minor league standings. The Houston Buffs long tenure in Houston would make way for Major League Baseball in 1962 and the framework of the big league franchise would be put together in 1961.

      The Houston Sports Association purchases Houston Buffs for operation in the American Association in 1961. This is preparatory for the club to begin operating in the National League in 1962. The price was believed to have been $393,750. It was at this time Craig Cullinan felt it was a mistake to not have previously purchased the Buffs a few years earlier when the asking price was $100,000. The HSA stockholders soon decided the Buffs name would not transcend into entry of the National League. A contest would be held to determine a new name.

      3/3/61- The Houston Sports Association conducts the first try-out at Busch Stadium (formerly Buff Stadium).

      7/31/61- The Last Roundup of the Buffaloes is held at Busch Stadium. The night featured the Solly Hemus Oldtimers versus the Johnny Keane Oldtimers in a three inning game featuring former Houston Buffs players. The Hemus Oldtimers win 2-1 before an estimated crowd of 3,700.

      8/28/61- Roy Hofheinz and R.E. “Bob” Smith complete the purchase of 494 acres of land just off South Main Street from the Hilton Hotel Corporation. The Houston Sports Association then sold 180 acres to Harris County for use as a stadium site for the Astrodome. On this same day, Houston bid farewell to the minor leagues as the Buffs played their final game. Certificates to commemorate the occasion featured facsimile signatures of Craig Cullinan, Jr., President of the Houston Sports Association and H. B. Richardson, general manager of the Houston Buffs.

      9/11/61- Hurricane Carla strikes the Texas coast and causes damage across the Houston area. Busch (formerly Buff) Stadium suffers some damage during the storm. Within a few months the stadium would be demolished with some parts auctioned. Houston would begin playing major league baseball at the new Colt Stadium while constructed proceeded for the domed stadium just a few hundred yards away on the same property.

      10/15/61- Busch Stadium (formerly Buff Stadium) hosts an All-Star exhibition in which nearly 6,000 see the National Leaguers beat the American League 6-1. Bob Aspromonte, who had just been drafted by the Houston franchise just a few days earlier makes an appearance in the game.

      The site of old Buff/Busch Stadium would become the Finger Furniture store and a Houston Sports Museum was built inside the building. The site of the stadium's home plate was marked. This store is still open today, although it appears that the future might bring demolition as Finger's moves it's flagship store to another area of town.

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      • #4
        One more pic of this ballpark...

        hi-BUSCH-STADIUM-1959-copy.gif

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        • #5
          Nice blog posts about the Houston Buffs (or Buffalos), with some Buff Stadium pics.

          First night game, July 22, 1930.

          buffs-night-game.jpg


          Close up of the buffalo medallions that lined the stadium

          buff-medallions-01.jpg


          1940's

          buff-rf-all.jpg
          Larger size


          1950's. Note what was called the "Fair Maid Moon", or the Fair Maid Bakery neon bread sign at left. Apparently the wonderful aroma of fresh baked bread was part of the ballpark experience, and when the scent of a new batch wafted over the stadium it seemed to boost hamburger and hot dog sales.

          buff-stadium-rf2.jpg
          Larger size


          Buff's Stadium at right, 1950's

          buff-freeway-view.jpg
          Larger size


          1951 scorecard




          http://bill37mccurdy.wordpress.com/tag/houston-buffs/

          Showcasing the finest photography to illuminate the lesser known stories from classic baseball. Now over 2000 followers!
          https://twitter.com/behindthebagbtb

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          • #6
            Originally posted by alpineinc View Post
            1950's. Note what was called the "Fair Maid Moon", or the Fair Maid Bakery neon bread sign at left. Apparently the wonderful aroma of fresh baked bread was part of the ballpark experience, and when the scent of a new batch wafted over the stadium it seemed to boost hamburger and hot dog sales.
            I live down the street from the Buff Stadium location here in Houston. Although the stadium is definitely long gone, the physical bakery still exists. It is now occupied by the "Leeland Baking Company", and you can still easily smell the baked bread quite strongly when you are in the area. I usually frequent a grocery store two blocks away from there, and even in the car you can smell it. Smells great actually.
            sigpic
            National League Champions: 2005
            National League Division Champions: 1980, 1986, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001
            National League Wild Card: 2004, 2005

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            • #7
              Did they have mosquito issues at this park too, as they did at Colt Stadium?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by HollandsComet View Post
                Did they have mosquito issues at this park too, as they did at Colt Stadium?
                I'm sure they did, but it was a different time then. When Buff Stadium opened in 1928, nobody even had a/c. It didn't really become common in homes until the late 1950s at least.

                Also, you'll notice that the vast majority of Buff Stadium's stands were covered. This makes a huge difference for heat tolerability, and they mounted fans to blow away the mosquitoes. Colt Stadium, on the other hand, was completely uncovered. I can speak from experience with this, as our college football stadiums in Houston are uncovered, as well as much of the Dynamo's BBVA Compass Stadium. I flat-out won't attend a day game there unless I'm sitting in a covered seat.
                Last edited by RootHouston; 10-22-2013, 09:22 PM.
                sigpic
                National League Champions: 2005
                National League Division Champions: 1980, 1986, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001
                National League Wild Card: 2004, 2005

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                • #9
                  I have always heard a big reason for the mosquitoes was the standing water in the halted construction of the astrodome.
                  The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Chevy114 View Post
                    I have always heard a big reason for the mosquitoes was the standing water in the halted construction of the astrodome.
                    Could be possible. I watched the video of Rusty Staub talking about it, and he said that there was a large open field adjacent to Colt Stadium. Growing up in a small coastal town in Texas (about 55 miles south from that part of Houston), I immediately remembered walking outside to the field across the street from our house and literally seeing gray air hovering over the grass. The gray color was due to the swarms of mosquitoes that dominated the field. The Astrodomain (Reliant Park) area is a concrete fortress now, so we don't feel mosquitoes at all there anymore.
                    sigpic
                    National League Champions: 2005
                    National League Division Champions: 1980, 1986, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001
                    National League Wild Card: 2004, 2005

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