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'98 slugger Ramirez, '61 IL MVP Savage named to Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame

The Bisons have announced that former Herd outfielders Alex Ramirez and Ted Savage have been elected to the Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame. They will be formally inducted during the Bisons' game against Syracuse on July 29 in Coca-Cola Field, pushing the Hall's membership to 96.

Ramirez played with the Bisons from 1997-1999 during the Cleveland affiliation and became one of the franchise's top sluggers of the modern era. He's best remembered for his monster 1998 season that helped the Bisons to a Governors' Cup championship and the first back-to-back titles in franchise history.

(See Alex Ramirez's career stats here)

Ramirez batted .299 in 121 games of the '98 season, setting single-season team record of 34 home runs and 103 RBIs and also set a franchise mark with a 28-game hitting streak -- which was snapped only when he willingly pinch hit in the eighth inning of a close game and did extend the streak. He was named the team's Stan Barron MVP and an International League all-star, and kept up his hot hitting in the playoffs. Ramirez hit for the cycle in Game One of the semifinals against Syracuse, still the only cycle by a Buffalo player in the downtown ballpark's 29 seasons, and hit three home runs in eight postseason games.

Ramirez played 315 games for the Bisons in three seasons and stands fourth in the modern era in home runs (57), fifth in RBIs (197) and 14th in batting (.286). A free agent signee with Cleveland out of Venezuela in 1991, Ramirez made his Triple-A debut with the Bisons in 1997, batting .286 with 11 homers and 44 RBIs in 119 games for a Buffalo team that won the final American Association title.

Ramirez hit 12 more home runs and averaged .305 in 75 games for the Bisons in 1999, earning an IL midseason All-Star selection. He played 135 major-league games with Cleveland and Pittsburgh before becoming  a star in Japan.

In 13 seasons in Nippon Professional Baseball, Ramirez hit 380 home runs with 1,272 RBIs in 1,744 games with Yakult, Yomiuri and Yokohama, winning the 2008 Central League MVP Award. Ramirez became the first foreign-born player to record 2,000 hits in the NPB and the first ever to join Japan’s Meikyukai, an elite private club that recognizes the best players in the country’s history. He became just the 42nd member.

He is currently serving as the manager of the Yokohama BayStars.

Savage's lone season with the Bisons was a memorable one, as he won a batting title and earned IL MVP honors in 1961 as the Bisons won the Governors' Cup and swept Louisville to win the Little World Series. Savage hit .325 with 24 homers and 65 RBIs in reaching Triple-A in his second pro season as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies chain. Savage had 29 doubles, four triples, 65 RBIs and also led the team in stole bases (31) and runs (111).

Savage was the final MVP of Buffalo's pre-modern era and their last winner of the IL award until Jhonny Peralta was named in 2004.  Savage went on to play for eight Major League teams, debuting with the Phillies in 1962. In 642 games, he hit .233 with 34 home runs, 163 RBIs and 49 stolen bases. He set personal bests with 114 games played, 12 home runs and 50 RBI in 1970 with the Milwaukee Brewers.

Savage retired after playing for Kansas City in 1971. Now 79, he currently lives in the St. Louis area.

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