Sept. 15, 1995 -- The Louisville Redbirds turned into party-poopers on this day.
They ruined the Buffalo Bisons' attempt to claim an American Association championship. Mike Harrington had the sad details for The News:
It was supposed to be the Bisons' biggest party at North AmeriCare Park. Instead, Friday night's winner-take-all showdown for the American Association championship turned into the biggest funeral.
It ended with the Louisville Redbirds cavorting around the diamond in celebration and the Buffalo Bisons still one win shy of winning the city's first professional baseball crown since 1961.A crowd of 16,508 could only watch in despair as the Redbirds soared to an 8-2 victory over the Herd to win the best-of-five series, three games to two.
Reliever Cris Carpenter pitched the final two innings for Louisville, getting Torey Lovullo to pop out to shortstop Aaron Holbert for the last out to clinch the Redbirds' first title since 1985.
"We lost because they played better than us and unfortunately it came out that way," said Bisons manager Brian Graham. "In my heart, I don't feel like the best team won the championship. I felt we have a better club. We just didn't play better."
Indeed, everything seemed to be in the Bisons' favor before the series started. They were eight games better than Louisville in the regular season, the exact difference from Buffalo's 16-8 edge in head-to-head play.
The Bisons had won 10 of 12 at home against the Redbirds, and Louisville stumbled into the playoffs losers of 15 of its final 20 games. All that didn't matter when it counted. The Redbirds stunned first-place Indianapolis with a three-game semifinal sweep, then took two of three games in Buffalo to win this series after the teams split two in Louisville.
"Doesn't mean anything," said designated hitter Luis Lopez. "Championship baseball is completely different from in-season baseball. They came out swinging the bats and pitched well."
--- Budd Bailey