Oh Give Us a Home Where the Buffalos Roamed

How the End of Baseball Season Once Looked
Back in the Day at Buff Stadium

If you were traveling north by auto on the Gulf Freeway post its 1948 completion, this is how a close up of Buff Stadium would appear on the right as you crossed Cullen Blvd at its intersection with I-45 South.

The Spanish architecture of the club offices, with their red tile roofs, are perched just above the main entrance and turnstiles.

And, as you’ve heard me describe them many times before, the upper perimeter of the roof, from far down each of the left and right field lines to this visible middle portion near the front grand entry, are a few of the 36″ diameter steel buffalo medallions that once graced the decorative facade of Buff Stadium from its 1928 first season to its 1961 finale. Each medallion featured a brown buffalo silhouette, surrounded by a perimeter circle of inwardly pointing orange triangles.

For this nine-year old first time fan visitor to Buff Stadium with his dad and little brother, John, in 1947, those buffalo medallions were the stuff that dreams are made of.

When they were tearing down Buff (later Busch) Stadium in the early 1960’s period of Houston’s first years as a big league club, untold numbers of the buffalo medallions fell to their destruction in the process. Somehow, and thankfully, many were salvaged and sold to individual fans and collectors who had come to witness “the sad times takedown” on a daily basis for the doable price of $4.00 each.

Wish I could have been there, but graduate school at Tulane in New Orleans made that possibility out of the question for me.

A close up look at one of the buffalo medallions described here.

Nobody knows for sure how many have survived to this day, but we do know that the Houston Astros are now in control of two medallions (see above) that have reached them as part of their fairly recent artifacts collection of items once owned and displayed by the Sammy Finger family at the Houston Sports Museum that once existed at the Finger Furniture store that once existed on the site of the former Buff Stadium. It is hoped that the Astros eventually will have a plan for displaying these important artifacts from the city’s earlier baseball history.

And thank you, Larry Hajduk, for bringing this favorite photo of the Buffalo Stadium exterior again to mind.

 

********************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

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One Response to “Oh Give Us a Home Where the Buffalos Roamed”

  1. Tom Hunter Says:

    Bill: I enjoyed your implied comparison of the buffalo medallions to the significance of the Maltese Falcon as described by Bogart with a line borrowed from Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

    Like your first trip to Buff Stadium with your dad and brother in 1947, I had the same reaction to the outside of the ball park on my first visit in the summer of 1956 for a game between the Buffs and the Fort Worth Cats. I went with my aunt, uncle, mother, and father and remember thinking it was the most beautiful place I had ever seen.

    Who knows what Buff Stadium’s infield skin, outfield grass, and walls of advertising actually looked like. Ray Bradbury was once criticized by a reviewer of his novel “Dandelion Wine” of describing his hometown of Waukegan, Illinois (Green Town) as magical place. The reviewer said that Waukegan was ugly and depressing–but not to a twelve-year-old boy.

    The Buffs are mentioned several times in a movie, The Trip to Bountiful, set in Houston in 1947.

    The stuff that dreams are made of, indeed.

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