Nicely engraved antique stock certificate from the Buffalo Bisons Baseball Club Inc. dating back to the 1950's. This document, which is signed by the company President and Secretary, was printed by Goes and measures approximately 11" (w) by 8 1/2" (h).
This certificate's vignette features the New York State Seal.
You will receive the exact certificate pictured.
Organized baseball in Buffalo had been around since at least 1859, when the Niagara baseball club of the National Association of Base Ball Players played its first season. The first professional team to play in Buffalo began in 1877; it was this team that was invited to become a major league club, the Buffalo Bisons of the National League, who played from 1879 to 1885. In 1886, the Bisons moved into minor league baseball as members of the original International League, then known as the Eastern League. (An "outlaw" team also known as the Buffalo Bisons also played in the Players' League, an upstart third major league, in 1890, but that team is not considered part of the Bisons history.) This team joined the Western League in 1899, and was within weeks of becoming a major league team when the Western League announced it was changing its name to the American League in 1900. However, by the start of the 1901 season, Buffalo had been bumped from the league in favor of the Boston Americans; the Bisons returned to the minors and the Eastern League that year.
This franchise continued in the Eastern/International League through June 1970, when it transferred to Winnipeg, Manitoba as the Winnipeg Whips, due to poor attendance, stadium woes, the Montreal Expos (then Canada's only MLB team) affiliating with the franchise, and an increasingly saturated Buffalo sports market that saw the Buffalo Sabres of the NHL and Buffalo Braves of the NBA established the same year. (The team had narrowly avoided relocation in 1955, but an idea of selling common stock in the team by John Stiglmeir prevented the team from leaving; it nonetheless was forced to move into a football venue, Buffalo War Memorial Stadium, a few years later, after its existing ballpark closed.) In 1969, Héctor López became the first black manager at the Triple-A level while managing Buffalo Bisons—six years before Frank Robinson became the first black manager in Major League Baseball. After stops in Winnipeg and Hampton, Virginia, the team was suspended after the 1973 season to make way for the Memphis Blues, who were moving up from Double-A.
In 1979, by which point the Braves had left town, the Double-A Eastern League's Jersey City A's were forced to leave their city due to the decrepitude of that city's Roosevelt Stadium and opted to move to Waterbury, Connecticut, a city that already had an Eastern League team. With Mayor Jimmy Griffin, Canisius College baseball coach Don Colpoys and WNY umpire Peter Calieri leading the effort, the league awarded the extra franchise to Buffalo, and the Bisons (taking on the previous team's name and history) returned to the field.
After six seasons in the Eastern League, the Bisons rejoined the Triple-A ranks in 1985, joining the American Association when the Wichita Aeros' franchise rights were transferred to Buffalo. When, as part of a reorganization of Triple-A baseball, the American Association folded after the 1997 season, Buffalo joined the International League.
Since their return to Triple-A baseball in 1985, the Bisons have qualified for the playoffs several times. In 2004, although the Bisons were 10 games behind the first-place team in June, the Bisons won their division. Buffalo won its first-round playoff, against the Durham Bulls, and advanced to the Governors' Cup Finals, in which they had home field advantage over the Richmond Braves. The remnants of Hurricane Ivan caused major flooding problems in Richmond and the entire series was played in Buffalo. The Bisons defeated the Braves in four games and won the Governors' Cup for the second time since 1998. In 2005, Buffalo won the North Division and played the Indianapolis Indians in the first round, winning the first two games in Indianapolis, but losing all three remaining games. With many of its players shuffled to the Cleveland Indians throughout the final months of the season, the Bisons failed to qualify for the playoffs in 2006. In 2007, Buffalo again failed to clinch a playoff spot, marking the first time since Buffalo was parented with the Pittsburgh Pirates that the Bisons missed the playoffs in back-to-back seasons. The team has not reached the playoffs since then.