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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Starting something

   May 1, 1879 -- It's the first Opening Day (always in capital letters for baseball fans) in Buffalo's professional baseball history. Heck, they should close the schools for such an anniversary.

   The Bisons debuted against the Boston Red Caps, losing by a 5-0 score. The team went on to a 46-32 record while playing its games at Riverside Park. That was good for third place in the National League -- yes, Buffalo once was in the National League. The team had played an independent schedule before that. The Providence Grays won the pennant, finishing five games ahead of the Red Caps.

   Pud Galvin was the team's top pitcher; he was close to the only pitcher. Galvin had a 37-27 record; he went into the Hall of Fame in 1965. Galvin spent parts of seven season in Buffalo on his way to 364 career wins -- one more than Warren Spahn.

   It's tough to pick an offensive star, but Hardy Richardson might qualify. He led the team in batting at .283.

   By the way, Riverside Park was located at Fargo and Rhode Island. It used to practice in, naturally, Riverside Park along the waterfront. The team is mentioned in a kiosk that is located across the street from the park overlooking Interstate 190.

--- Budd Bailey

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