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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Packing them in

     August 19, 1988 -- The Buffalo Bisons averaged about 667 fans per game when they played their games in Riverside Grounds in 1879. They did a lot better when they got to their newest, and current, home more than 100 years later.

     The Bisons sold out their game with the Omaha Royals on this date, attracting a crowd of 19,500. That put the season total at 1,061,319 for tickets sold. No minor-league baseball team had ever sold more in a season at that point.

     The old record was set by the Louisville Redbirds in 1983. They were the first team over a million with a season-total of 1,052,438.

     It's easy to forget what a remarkable run the Bisons had when they first moved into then-Pilot Field in 1988. They finished the 1988 season with a paid attendance of 1,186,651. That was a bigger number than the attendance figure for the Atlanta Braves, Chicago White Sox and Seattle Mariners.

     If that weren't enough, the turnstiles kept spinning for several more years. The high-water mark was set in 1991 when 1,240,951 watched baseball. Seven teams have gone past the million mark in attendance in a given year, and six of them were from Buffalo.

--- Budd Bailey

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