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This Birthday in Buffalo Sports History: Roger Bresnahan

     (Born June 11, 1879) -- Buffalo hasn't had that many baseball Hall of Famers pass through town over the years. Roger Bresnahan's stop might have been as obscure as any of them.

     He was born in Toledo and turned up for the city's entry in the Interstate League in 1898. Later that year, he moved to Minneapolis in the Western League.

     Then in 1899, the young catcher switched teams and played for the Buffalo Bisons. There's no record of his statistics here, but at the least he must have impressed someone. After taking most of 1900 off, Bresnahan joined the Baltimore Orioles of hte American League in 1901. He and the legendary John McGraw landed with the New York Giants a year later, and Bresnahan's career began in earnest.

     His mark in baseball history came in 1905, when he put on protective equipment. No catcher had ever done that before. He also developed the first batting helmet, and wore a padded catchers mask. It all made him one of the most famous catchers in the Deadball era.

     Bresnahan did some managing later on with the Cardinals and Cubs, and was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1945.

--- Budd Bailey

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