Mike Billoni and George Daddario forever became a part of Buffalo baseball history Saturday night.
The former ace promoters of the Bisons were inducted into the Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame prior to the game against Nashville in North AmeriCare Park.
"It feels great to be back home again among my second family," said Billoni, who ascended to vice president of the team in a career that spanned from 1983-1996 and saw the Bisons grow into the flagship franchise of the minor leagues.
Daddario worked as director of public relations and promotions in the 1950s and helped spark an effort that sold a minor-league record 413,000 tickets in 1959.
The ceremony was heavy with thoughts of 89-year-old Hall of Fame chairman Vince McNamara, who is in failing health in an Amherst nursing home.
"My mentor in baseball," Billoni said of McNamara, who also helped Daddario get his first baseball administration job in 1941 in Olean.
Among those in the crowd that Daddario saluted was 95-year-old Dan Amigone, who hosted a Knights of Columbus Christmas party in 1932 at which Daddario won his first baseball glove.
The Bisons brought back more than 50 former NAP employees to celebrate Billoni's induction. Billoni thanked them and several late friends, including former Bison superfan Frank "Fremo" Vallone, the club's goodwill ambassador who died in 1993.
"They're in that great diamond in the sky and they'd be very proud at this time," Billoni said.
Daddario recounted how his son, Paul, received a letter from Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg after his pro career was ended by injury in 1986.
"He said, 'You were one of the chosen few to wear the uniform of a professional baseball player,"' Daddario said. "That exactly how I feel about my career in baseball."
The season has turned around for Buffalo second baseman Torey Lovullo after a visit on the last homestand from former teammate Mike Humphreys, a 1995 Bison who is now a Detroit Tigers scout.
Lovullo went 12 for 24 on the team's last road trip and his home run in Friday night's homestand opener was his fifth in seven games. Lovullo, now hitting .205 after a miserable start, did not play Saturday against Nashville left-hander Mike Sirotka.
When Humphreys hit town this time, he offered a suggestion to his struggling ex-teammate.
"I felt like I just wasn't getting to a lot of balls because I was late," Lovullo said. "He noticed my hands were a little too low and I raised them one day and something just clicked. Ever since then, I've been hitting balls hard."
Lovullo's home run Friday was his ninth of the season and 25th of his Bison career, moving him into a tie for ninth place on the franchise American Association leader board with Carlos Garcia.