Fred Hartman: Last Buff Stadium Hurrah

September 11, 1961: Hurricane Carla left both a physical and metaphorical message on the future of Busch-Buff Stadium in Houston. Ten days later, the Buffs played their last game ever at the quickly repaired park.

September 11, 1961: Hurricane Carla left both a physical and metaphorical message on the future of Busch-Buff Stadium in Houston. Ten days later, the Buffs played their last game ever at the quickly repaired park.

Defeated Buffs Bow Out

By Fred Hartman

Houston (AP) – Twenty-one years ago at the end of the 1940 season, the Baytown Oilers were fighting for the Houston Post semi-pro tournament championship.

They fought their way into the semi-finals, and promoters of the tournament stupidly forced the Oilers to have to win three games in one day to win the title.

They won the first two in brilliant fashion. Then their weary muscles failed them, and they fell apart in the finale.

It was a sad things to see – just as sad as the complete fall apart of the Houston Buffs Thursday night as they were shellacked, 11-4, by the Louisville Colonels.

It was a historical defeat for it came in the last game of minor league professional baseball ever to be played at Busch (formerly Buff) Stadium. (Last Game Date: Thursday, September 21, 1961.) Next spring, the fledgeling Houston Colts will begin play on a new south end field (Colt Stadium) in the National League.

Busch-Buff Stadium has been the scene of some great events, and now they are gone.

It was at home plate that Dizzy Dean and his bride were married. It was (from) there that Joe Medwick used to rattle the boards as 1961 first baseman Pidge Browne has been doing. It was (from) there that Carey Selph battled to the death as a great inspirational star. It was (from) there that Bill Hallahan’s southpaw plans won him big league opportunities. It was (from) there that Kenny Boyer began his climb to fame.

And all that is left is (are the) memories and the ignomiing (sp) (ignominy) of the final game when the Buffs, trying too hard, fell apart. How else, for instance, can you explain the seven errors, five by hustling shortstop J.C. Hartman. (?)

Jack Waters Hit the Last Home Run in the Last Time at Bat in the Last Inning of the Last Game Ever Played by the Houston Buffs, also in their Last Game at Busch-Buff Stadium on 9/21/1961. The Buffs still lost to the Louisville Colonels, 11-4, in Game 6 of the American Association Championship Series.

Jack Waters Hit the Last Home Run in the Last Time at Bat in the Last Inning of the Last Game Ever Played by the Houston Buffs, also in their Last Game at Busch-Buff Stadium on 9/21/1961.
The Buffs still lost to the Louisville Colonels, 11-4, in Game 6 of the American Association Championship Series.

 If you want one lingering memory of better things, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are,  you can always remember the home run stroked by Jack Waters with a Buff aboard and the homelings behind, 11-2.

In Jerry Witte fashion, Waters hit a circuit clout far above the left field wall.  It soared high and far, and Jack took only three steps from home plate before he knew he had the big one. He trotted around the bases with feeble applause of only the faithful who there at the end. 

And the last record play was a brilliant one. Jim Campbell slashed a hard hit ball through the box. The Colonels second baseman had been edging that way. He made a great play on the ball, and an even greater throw to first to beat the Buffs catcher by a step.

Thus did Buff Stadium – we never did like the Busch appellation – stumble in(to) the past on a sour note that never could replace the sweeter moments that victory and sensational plays had produced in the 33 years since the opener in the summer of 1928.

Baytown is now a live and highly expectant major league suburb. It couldn’t have happened until that final out wrote finish Thursday night.

~ Fred Hartman, Baytown Sun, Friday, September 22, 1961, Page 7.

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One Response to “Fred Hartman: Last Buff Stadium Hurrah”

  1. Tom Hunter Says:

    My last trip to Buff Stadium was on Sunday, April 16, 1961, also against the Louisville Colonels–a Milwaukee Braves farm club– and watched a rookie catcher named Joe Torre.

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