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Opening Day memories: April 14 is a special day in Bisons history

The Bisons open their 29th season downtown today at 2 against the Rochester Red Wings -- on the anniversary of the iconic game that first opened the doors of then-Pilot Field on April 14, 1988.

It seems like yesterday but now there are generations we actually have to explain things to about that day: The Bisons won, 1-0, over the Denver Zephyrs, then a Milwaukee affiliate of a city still five years away from cracking the big leagues. The only run was a third-inning homer by catcher and future Buffalo Baseball Hall of Famer Tom Prince. It was the first of many sellouts of 19,500.

I have no idea the origin but this YouTube has been floating around for several years with great shots of the day, from the ceremonies outside featuring late greats like Ralph Hubbell, Mario Cuomo and Jimmy Griffin, to the Oak Ridge Boys rendition of the anthem to game highlights. Check out the noise on the last out (and scroll past the infernal ad for the rest of this post!)

 

From the voluminous archives of former broadcaster and fellow Hall member Pete Weber, here's some clips from that day.

Click here for the first pitch, a strike from Bob Patterson to Billy Bates. Patterson, remember, carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning that day.

Click here as Weber calls Prince's home run to deep left.

Here's a list of all home openers in the ballpark's history. This is going to be the sixth straight year we don't break 60 degrees but the sun is always good to see:

******HOME OPENER HISTORY AT CCF (17-11, 5 PPDs, 4 sellouts)**********
(Listing date, result, paid attendance and weather)
4/9/15 6-3 loss to Rochester 12,638 (56, cloudy)
4/3/14 6-3 win over Rochester 11,052 (42, cloudy)
4/4/13 12-7 win over Rochester 15,852 (43, sunny)
4/11/12 12-3 win over Scranton 10,905 (46, cloudy)
4/7/11 8-5 loss to Syracuse 11,709 (50, sunny)
4/14/10 8-2 win over Pawtucket 13,323 (61, sunny)
4/9/09 6-4 loss to Pawtucket 13,178 (48, sunny)
4/11/08* 4-1 loss to Toledo 11,283 (65, rainy)
4/9/07 8-3 win over Ottawa 5,388 (4 ppds snow, then 35-cloudy)
4/14/06* 9-1 win over Columbus 15,011 (61, cloudy)
4/8/05* 5-4 loss to Richmond (G1) 7,778 (ppd-rain, then 57-clear)
4/16/04* 10-5 loss to Ottawa 17,104 (70, clear)
4/3/03 10-8 win over Pawtucket 12,720 (**29, cloudy/sleet)
4/10/02 3-2 loss to Ottawa 14,038 (49, sunny)
4/5/01 5-2 win over Pawtucket 14,169 (54, sunny)
4/12/00 6-2 win over Ottawa 13,039 (38, 42-min snow delay)
4/8/99 8-4 loss to Ottawa 19,699 (61, sunny)
4/10/98 4-0 win over Rochester 11,525 (ppd-rain, then 49-sunny)
4/4/97 4-3 win over Nashville (11) 19,576 (56-cloudy)
4/8/96 4-0 win over Indy 15,187 (35-cloudy)
4/5/95 6-3 loss to Nashville 12,398 (ppd-snow, then 40-cloudy)
4/14/94 3-2 win over Omaha 19,525 (61-sunny)
4/8/93 8-1 win over Omaha 21,050 (76, sunny)
4/17/92* 4-3 win over OKC 14,159 (ppd-rain, then 44-clear)
4/17/91 5-2 loss to Denver 21,050 (51-cloudy)
4/16/90 3-1 loss to Iowa 17,779 (58-cloudy-sellout due to bleacher renovation)
4/5/89 8-3 win over Louisville 18,614 (49, drizzle)
4/14/88 1-0 win over Denver 19,500 (51, drizzle/wind)
• -- night games

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