Five Former Bisons in Uniform for the World Series
After a sprint of a Major League season that included the return of Big League baseball to Buffalo, it's only fitting that the Bisons will once again be well-represented in this year's World Series... on the field and in the dugouts!
The Los Angeles Dodgers will square off against the Tampa Bay Rays in this year's Fall Classic and each team will not only feature a former Bisons player on their active rosters, but also on their coaching staffs.
L.A. of course has one of the best hitting third basemen's in Justin Turner and are managed by Buffalo Baseball Hall of Famer, Dave Roberts. The former Herd outfielder also has a Bisons backstop from the past in bullpen coach, Josh Bard.
On the American League side, dependable lefty reliver Aaron Loup will be available out of the Rays bullpen this World Series. Whether manager Kevin Cash turns to the southpaw will rely on the advice of his pitching coach, former Bisons righty, Kyle Snyder.
We lead off appropriately with Roberts, a 2013 inductee in the Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame. No one in the Bisons modern era stole more bases than the 97 he compiled in parts of four seasons with the Herd, 1998-2001, including 39 in back-to-back campaigns in 1999 and 2000. He is one of just 11 modern era hitters with over 300 hits (305), hitting .286 with 194 runs scored (6th) in 276 games. Roberts also chipped in 75 extra-base hits and 117 RBI with a .754 OPS while with the Bisons.
All Turner did in his 90 career games in Buffalo was hit, with a .328 average and a .384 on-base percentage with the Bisons from 2010-2012. Claimed by the Mets in May of 2010, Turner finished that season with a .316 combined average (.333 with Buffalo) that ranked 5th-best in the International League. He punctuated that campaign with the team's first 6-hit performance in 68 years when he went 6-for-6 and hit for the cycle in the season finale in Rochester. Turner also had 11 home runs in just 78 games during that breakout year in 2010 that launched his big league career.
Bard was one of the Bisons best hitting backstops during the early 2000s, with a combined .292 batting average in 170 games from '01-'04. A switch-hitter with good pop, Bard had 43 doubles, 15 home runs and 92 RBI to go along with a .441 slugging pct. in a Buffalo uniform. While not with the Bisons during the 2004 playoffs, he was an important piece to the team's potent lineup down the stretch that year by driving in 18 runs over the last two months of the season, including a three-run walk-off home run on August 15 against the Ottawa Lynx.
Over on the Rays is the lone former Bisons player in the World Series that has been a product of the team's affiliation with the Blue Jays. Loup actually made his Triple-A debut with Buffalo in 2015, having skipped the level in his ascension to Toronto in 2012. He made five relief appearances that season with the Herd (4.50 ERA) and then returned in 2016 to post a sparkling 1.83 ERA and a 3-0 record over 20 appearances. In that second campaign, the southpaw struck out 26 and walked just three and had a 12-game scoreless appearance streak that extended from an injury rehab assignment in May all the way to the early parts of August.
Snyder was one of the most versatile pitchers for the 2009 Buffalo Bisons under manager Ken Oberkfell, having made 14 starts and 19 relief appearances for the team. Named the team's 2009 Comeback Player of the Year, he finished 2nd on the club in innings pitched (104.1) and fourth in strikeouts (74). Snyder earned three wins and a save to go along with a 4.23 ERA for the '09 Herd.
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International League Stories from October 20, 2020
- Five Former Bisons in Uniform for the World Series - Buffalo Bisons
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