A Buff Stadium Pictorial

Houston Sports Museum (on site of old Buff Stadium)

Buffalo/Buff Stadium was located on what is now the site of Finger Furniture Store on the Gulf Freeway at Cullen Boulevard. This ballpark was the home of the minor league Houston Buffs from 1928 through 1961. Technically, it was renamed by Cardinals/Buff owner August Busch in his own family image in 1953, but few of us old-time Buff fans ever made the emotional change to the full acceptance of its new identity as Busch Stadium from 1953 through 1961.

The mural featured above, plus a nice display of memorabilia from the era of the Buffs is on display at the Houston Sports Museum located in the Finger store. In fact, the original site of home plate is commemorated in place on the floor there. Drop inside sometime and take a look at the place and its collection of materials on Houston’s professional sports history.

Buff Stadium Home Plate Site at Houston Sports Museum.

First Opening Day, Buff Stadium, April 11, 1928.

Buff Stadium, 1928: Check out the buffalos on the left field wall.

Game Day, 1930s & 1940s.

Field of Dreams, From Early On.

Night Ball Lighted Buff Stadium through the Great Depression.

Lights Awakened Summer Nights of the 1950s too.

Note the circles above the front entrance to Buff Stadium.

Those eighty 36″ metal circles were medallions that each featured a buffalo silhouette. There were a total of eighty spread along the exterior walls of the ballpark and, when they tore old Buff Stadium down in 1963, they fell like a clanging steel rain upon the concrete surface below. Those that survived were sold for four dollars a piece to the few persons who showed up to watch Houston go through an everyday act of work for that era. It was called “tearing down the past to make room for the future.”

One of the survivors. Close to all my memories. Close to all in my heart.

Houston has changed. We still aren’t perfect and never will be, but we now live a more invested idea of preserving and restoring the past. If we were not that way, many of us would not be so upset today that Houston has been denied the opportunity of keeping one of the space shuttles as an artifact of our deep history with NASA and the space program. Those forces of community outrage weren’t so strong on the day they tore Buff Stadium down and threw out the Buffs as our historic baseball identity.

Sometimes our best energies are spent on researching and discerning the truth about our various local histories, whether its our legacy from baseball or space exploration. Good research and reporting live  at the heart of historic restoration and preservation – and each serves the end of any honest museum and hall of historic commemoration that is ever built on any deserving subject.

That statement will either mean everything to you or it won’t matter at all. Find your category and move on from there.

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18 Responses to “A Buff Stadium Pictorial”

  1. Pat Mulvihill Says:

    Nice pictures, Bill. Thanks for posting. Perhaps the .45’s should have played there rather than Colt Stadium. Methinks the fans would have enjoyed the covered grandstands.

  2. Darrell Pittman Says:

    I’ll double your money and give you $8 for the medallion 😉

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      Darrell:

      It’s worth at least ten. I keep the medallion under lock and key away from the house because of its historic value.

      • Joan Conley Says:

        I have a friend who has a medallion, but he wants $20,000 for it!!! Know anyone who might be interested??? I’ll put you in touch.

  3. Darrell Pittman Says:

    Is it just me, or are the two 1928 aerial shots above one and the same photo, save for the color tone and the title superimposed on the first one.

    I mean, the angle, the shadows, the cars in the parking lot, even the way the ticket line snakes around looks the same to me.

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      Darrell:

      They are, indeed, the same photo. The one from the museum was sepia-toned and once included that explanatory description of the occasion as Opening Day in 1928, the very first one of April 11, 1928. A new copy of the same mural now adorns the same spot at the museum, but without the script on the face of it.

      That was a big day. It was also the date of the first radio broadcast of a Buffs game. KPRC was the station and Bruce Layer was the first play-by-play man.

  4. Leona Schroeder Says:

    I loved the Buff Stadium and watching the Buff baseball
    games when they were in town. The lights from the stadium beamed on my bedroom at night when they were in town, as my family & I lived only 2 blocks away. I attended a lot of games from 1947 to 1953. What great memories I have of that era. I would have loved buying one of those
    medallions.

  5. tom murrah Says:

    My foggy San Antonio-based memory seems to recall the Buff Stadium
    scoreboard had a mechanized “goose” that would proceed from left to
    right, find the appropriate inning and “lay a goose egg” in the visiting
    team’s score-line. That would have been in the 50’s as my cousins
    hosted me to another pasting of the Missions by the Buffs.
    Of course, I could be totally mistaken.

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      Tom:

      It could be just me, but I have no memory of any goose laying eggs on the scoreboard at Buff Stadium. That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. I just don’t recall it. Maybe it happened in one of those later 50s decade years that found me more interested in girls than baseball – but maybe it had something to do with what you had to eat at bedtime on those nights you visited Buff Stadium too.

  6. Anthony Cavender Says:

    The “remembrance of times past”–Proust would have a field day with this! I vividly recall the fact that the latest edition of the Sporting News could be purchased at the park (there’s nothing to compare with fresh newsprint), and there was the fragrant scent of cigars being smoked–not too bad in an outdoor ball park. Going to a game with your dad was priceless.

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      Tony –

      Proust would’ve had a field day shortstop for the Buffs.

      As for the ambience of the sights, smells, sounds, tastes and general feel of old Buff Stadium, you got it right. There is nothing like it today because that was our time and experience – and going to the ballpark with our own dads is now nothing less than a cherished memory.

  7. Baseball History - Page 27 - SportsHoopla.com Sports Forums Says:

    […] doing in Houston during Spring Training in 1931 and not the Cardinals…I don’t know. A Buff Stadium Pictorial | The Pecan Park Eagle It was on this date in 1966 Emmett Ashford becomes the first black to be a MLB umpire when he is […]

  8. andy Says:

    Bill McCurdy i have a Buff Medallion just wondering if you knew what it may be worth. Thanks Andy

  9. andy Says:

    Also if any one out there might know i just cant find much info on these medallions Thanks Andy

  10. mike levingston Says:

    i have one of the medallions ;20000 is my price

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      Mike’s $2,000 price is the name of the ballpark on Buffalo Medallions that are for sale. Mine is not. It’s also now locked away in secure storage, along with my few other museum quality valuables.

  11. Mike levingston Says:

    I have one of the medallions that survived the demolition :

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