MUSIC - chain lightnin' by .38 special
Photographed in 1994 and 1995 using film.
Coca-Cola Field - Opened April 14, 1988 and is still in use.
Known as Pilot Field 1988 - 1995, North AmeriCare Park 1995 - 1999, Dunn Tire Park 1999 - 2008, Coca-Cola Field 2008 present.
Location - 275 Washington St. Buffalo, New York -- Bounded by Swan St., Exchange St.
Western New York, specifically Buffalo, has a long and storied minor league history. Beginning in 1884 at the corner of Richmond Avenue and Summer Street was Olympic park. The International league began play in Buffalo in 1889 and used Buffalo Baseball park from 1889-1923. It was in 1924 that the Bison's began play at Offerman stadium. They were there thru the 1960 season. After that, the team moved to War memorial stadium where they stayed until 1987. Dunn tire park, or Pilot field as it was know then, came into play for the 1988 season.
Coca Cola field is located in downtown Buffalo at the corner of Washington and Swan streets. It is a stones throw across the Thomas E. Dewey expressway from the old Aud. After years of playing in outdated and downright awful War memorial stadium, the Bison's moved into their modern home in 1988. From 1988 thru the 1994 season, the Bison's were the triple A team for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Since 1995, they have been the top farm team for the Cleveland Indians. Many of the Indians best players have played in Buffalo. For the most part, Buffalo has been a Triple A city in both the International league (1998 thru the present) and the old defunct American Association (1985 thru 1997). The American Association folded after the 1997 season after nearly 100 years as triple A. Ironically, the Bison's were the last American Association league champion in 1997. All in all, Buffalo has captured 10 league titles, the last one coming in 2004.
The facility was known as Pilot field (for pilot air freight) from 1988 thru 1994. But after a default on naming rights payments, the park was simply called the downtown ballpark for a year. In 1995 North Americare Park was the name. This lasted thru the 1988 season. In 1989 Dunn tire got the naming rights until 2010 when it was changed to Coca Cola field. A footnote, The Bison's were the first team in minor league history to draw over 1 million fans during their first season at the park.
The Bison's have had their share of hall of famers. Starting with the grand old man Connie Mack, thru Lou Boudreau, Johnny Bench, Jim Bunning and Ferguson Jenkins, just to name a few. Modern day players who have played in Buffalo are Victor Martinez, Moises Alou, Coco Crisp, Magglio Ordonez, Jim Thome, Richie Sexon, Grady Sizemore and Tim Wakefield.
Buffalo deserved a modern park for baseball and they got it. Ironically one of the most popular events held at the park is not baseball, BUT the National Buffalo wing festival every Labor Day weekend. The Buffalo wing was invented at the Anchor bar in Buffalo.
Pilot field (as it was known then) from the corner of Swan and Washington in downtown Buffalo. 7/94
Looking up Washington Street towards the first base side. 7/94
Inside the Bisons locker room. 7/94
From right centerfield. 7/94
The back of the centerfield scoreboard. 10/95
Snow will soon cover the green grass of the field. 10/95
The season is over and the locker room is ready for a long winter. 10/95
The main concourse. 10/95
The Bisons gift shop is to the right thru the glass door. 10/95
Dunn tire park at night. 10/95