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Henry `Hank` Aaron, who signed his first professional baseball contract in Buffalo, is seated in the Bisons dugout in 1985 during an Old-Timers game. (Photo courtesy of the Michael J. Billoni Collection)
Henry "Hank" Aaron, who signed his first professional baseball contract in Buffalo, is seated in the Bisons dugout in 1985 during an Old-Timers game. (Photo courtesy of the Michael J. Billoni Collection)

'Seasons of Buffalo Baseball 1857-2020' virtual event highlights history-making Major League Baseball decision

Sat, May 22nd 2021 09:25 am

At 7 p.m. Monday, May 24, Michael J. Billoni and James Overfield, publisher and editor of “The Seasons of Buffalo Baseball 1857-2020,” will present a virtual event inspired by the December 2020 Major League Baseball decision to officially recognize the Negro League clubs as MLB teams — 100 years after their creation. “Talking Baseball Part II: “Breaking Baseball’s Color Barrier,” will be a free virtual event broadcast from Dave & Adams Card World.

Billoni said the event will tackle a topic not often considered in public discussion.

“When Major League Baseball announced they would officially recognize the accomplishments of Negro League teams and players, the significance of that moment in the history of baseball and of our nation could not be denied,” he said. “Finally, after a century, all seven Negro Leagues of baseball’s preintegration-era (1920-48) will have their statistics and records added to Major League Baseball’s history and record books.

“What makes this even more compelling for Western New Yorkers is that many of those Negro League players are in some way connected to Buffalo Bisons baseball. That’s why Jim and I decided to focus our second ‘SOBB’ ‘Talking Baseball’ virtual event on the teams and players who made history in the Negro Leagues and those who are ensuring that those stories will be told.”

The “The Seasons of Buffalo Baseball” event is free and open to the public, with registration required via this link: https://www.57sobb20.com/. Once a registration form is submitted, a Zoom link will be provided via return email.

This event will be cohosted by Billoni and John Murphy, Buffalo Bills play-by-play announcer and Buffalo Broadcaster Association’s Hall of Fame member. Their guest lineup leads off with an all-star: Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM), located in Kansas City, Missouri.

Hendrick will be joined by “The Seasons of Buffalo Baseball” editor Overfield, assistant editor Brian Frank, Author and Founder of “Friends of Buffalo Baseball History” Howard Henry Jr., former Buffalo Bisons pitcher (1988-89) and unofficial “official” Buffalo Bison national anthem singer Morris Madden, former Buffalo Bisons pitcher (1988-90) Dorn Taylor, Willie “Hutch” Jones Educational/Sports Program President Willie “Hutch” Jones and Omega Mentoring Program Director Cedric Holloway.

During the broadcast, drawings will be held for giveaways of a $25 Dave & Adams Cards gift card and an autographed copy of “The Seasons of Buffalo Baseball” to two lucky attendees. For more information, contact Billoni at [email protected].

“The Seasons of Buffalo Baseball” is available at the following retail locations:
Dave & Adam's Card World 8075 Sheridan Drive, Williamsville; Made in America stores, 1000 West Maple Court, Elma; 6041 Transit Road, Depew; 3701 McKinley Mall, Hamburg; The BFLO Stores, 130 Main St. (in the Explore & More Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Children's Museum lobby); Eastern Hills, McKinley, Galleria and Boulevard malls; The Buffalo History Museum, One Museum Court, Buffalo; The Bookworm & BW Gifts. 34 Elm St., East Aurora; Bases Loaded Sports Collectables, 794 French Road, Cheektowaga; Riverside Men’s Shop and S&E Jewelers, 6470 Transit Road, Depew; Olde Editions Bookshop& Gallery, 954 Oliver St., North Tonawanda; Dog Ears Bookstore & Café, 688 Abbott Road, Buffalo; Talking Leaves Book Store, 951 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo; and Thin Ice, 719 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo. Niagara Frontier Publications 1859 Whitehaven Road, Grand Island, is also selling the book, with $5 from each sale going toward the Joseph M. Overfield Memorial Mentoring Program.

The book can be ordered online at Amazon through the Buffalo Bisons and through the Buffalo News Online Store.

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