The year 1949 is considered the official inaugural season of U.B. varsity baseball. But baseball’s start at U.B. goes back much further. There are newspaper accounts of a U.B. team from as early as 1894. And from 1914-1920, several good U.B. teams took to the diamond.
For example, the Buffalo team from the 1915-1916 academic year chalked up eight victories against six defeats, with one tie game. The Buffalo team was coached by the colorful George “Heine” Smith.
Heinie Smith was a former second baseman in Major League Baseball who played for the Louisville Colonels (1897–1898), Pittsburgh Pirates (1899), New York Giants (1901–1902) and Detroit Tigers (1903). Following his majors career, Smith played and managed in the Eastern League for the Buffalo Bisons. (see “U.B. Names George Smith Coach of Baseball Team” Buffalo Courier, 6 February 1916)
Although the weather in the spring of 1916 did not cooperate and several big games were cancelled, the season was a success. Perhaps the most memorable being the attack at West Point, resulting in an 11-inning victory for the Cadets, by the score of 3—2. The West Point authorities gave this game the credit of being the “fastest exhibition seen on their grounds in a number of years.”
The big local rivalry was with Niagara University. Niagara took 2 out of 3 games from Buffalo with the first game being so contentious, Coach Smith took his team off the field and forfeited the game after just 4 complete innings.
The star players included pitchers Charles “Slim” Thill and “Cosy” Dolan.
The lanky Thill, standing at six foot, six inches, averaged 12 strikeouts per game. After his U.B playing days, he was a mainstay on several semi-pro Buffalo area teams.
Cosy Dolan, who was a star player on St. Bonaventure the previous season, was considered one of the best college pitcher in the country. Dolan caught the eye of several big league scouts and signed a contract with Louisville of the American Association baseball league while still at U.B. The contract called for Dolan’s appearance at Louisville June 3rd, the day after U.B. commencement.
No word on if Cosy Dolan ever made it to the major leagues.
1916 Buffalo Baseball Season
|Date||Home Team||Score||Visiting Team||W-L-T||Location|
|4/12/1916||Syracuse University||Rain-out||Buffalo||—||Syracuse, NY|
|4/19/1916||Niagara University||7 – 2 (4 innings)||Buffalo||L||Niagara Falls, NY|
|4/21/1916||Duquesne University||2 – 5||Buffalo||W||Pittsburgh, PA|
|4/24/1916||Buffalo||Rain-out||Lafayette (Easton, PA)||—||Buffalo, NY|
|4/27/1916||Rochester University||13 – 2||Buffalo||L||Rochester, NY|
|4/28/1916||St. Bonaventure||Buffalo||W||Olean, NY|
|4/29/1916||Buffalo||13 – 2||Niagara University||W||Buffalo, NY|
|5/5/1916||Niagara||4 – 0||Buffalo||L||Niagara Falls, NY|
|5/6/1916||Hobart College||2 – 10||Buffalo||W||Geneva, NY|
|5/9/1916||Buffalo||14 - 1||Hobart College||W||Buffalo, NY|
|5/11/1916||Syracuse||4 – 2||Buffalo||L||Syracuse, NY|
|5/12/1916||St. Lawrence||3 – 8 (10 innings)||Buffalo||W||Canton, NY|
|5/13/1916||Army||3 – 2 (11 innings)||Buffalo||L||West Point, NY|
|5/18/1916||Buffalo||0 – 4 (6 innings)||Michigan State||L||Buffalo, NY|
|5/20/1916||Buffalo||15 – 2 (exhibition)||Niagara University Alumni||—||Buffalo, NY|
|5/27/1916||Buffalo||8 – 0||St. Lawrence||W||Buffalo, NY|
|5/30/1916||Buffalo||1 – 1 (6 innings)||Detroit University||T||Crystal Beach, ON|
|6/1/1916||Buffalo||3 – 1||St. Francis (Loretto, PA)||W||Buffalo, NY|
|6/2/1916||Buffalo||Rain-out||Rochester University||—||Buffalo, NY|
FINAL RECORD: 8-6-1
Tags: Buffalo Bulls Baseball History
U.B. NAMES GEORGE
SMITH COACH OF
Schedule for 1916 Includes
Some of Best Teams in
WILL PLAY ARMY AT WEST POINT
Recognized on the baseball schedules of
many leading college in the east and
middle west University of Buffalo looks
forward to its greatest year on the dia-
mond. Manager Earl Churchill yester-
day announced a list of twenty-two
names that will occupy the attention of
the pastimers from April 13 to June 3,
the day following commencement.
Besides announcing the schedule the
athletic advisory board has reappointed
George Smith, former Bison manager, to
the coaching position. Smith was chosen
unanimously and in making its deter-
mination the board saw fit to recount the
great work done by the mentor in put-
ting U. B. in the baseball limelight last
spring. Every man who played under
Smith’s wing last year urged his choice
and with nearly all of the 1915 squad
in the field the varsity should make a
great bid for prominence.
Important Games on Schedule
Twenty-two games will be played. The
season will open at Syracuse on April
12th. Games with Duquesne, Pittsburgh.
Lafeyette college, Hobart, Army, Michigan
Aggies, Colgate and Rochester, give
the schedule a metropolitan aspect. The
success of the varsity gridiron team last
fall has made the work of the schedule
maker much lighter that had had an-
ticipated when asking for dates with
Army, Pittsburgh, and Michigan Aggies.
Syracuse will also appear on the local
diamond. A three-day trip, including
Clarkson Tech. St. Lawrence and the
Army is a bright spot on the schedule.
Thirteen games will be played at home.
— Buffalo Courier, February 16, 1916