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1916 Buffalo Baseball

by Scott Hollander
University at Buffalo Libraries

Team Photo

Back row – Driggs, assistant manager; Burns, catcher; Magner, outfielder; Dr. E. W. Woodlbury manager; Thill, pitcher; Harnish, pitcher; B. C. Ralph, faculty adviser. Middle row – Cole, captain; Pamenter, utility; Coach George Smith; Stienaker, captain, infielder; Erwin, catcher. Bottom row – Martin, outfielder; Lojocano, infielder; Churchill, manager.

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 1914-1917, 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.”

Smith, BuffaloThe 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  Rain-out Buffalo  — Syracuse, NY
4/19/1916 Niagara  7 – 2 (4 innings) Buffalo  L Niagara Falls, NY
4/21/1916 Duquesne  2 – 5 Buffalo  W Pittsburgh, PA
4/22/1916 Pittsburgh  Rain-out Buffalo  — Pittsburgh, PA
4/24/1916 Buffalo  Rain-out Lafayette  — Buffalo, NY
4/27/1916 Rochester  13 – 2 Buffalo  L Rochester, NY
4/28/1916 St. Bonaventure   Buffalo  W Olean, NY
4/29/1916 Buffalo  13 – 2 Niagara  W Buffalo, NY
5/3/1916 Buffalo  Rain-out Syracuse  — 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 Alumni  — Buffalo, NY
5/27/1916 Buffalo   8 – 0 St. Lawrence  W Buffalo, NY
5/30/1916 Buffalo  1 – 1 (6 innings) Detroit  T Crystal Beach, ON
6/1/1916 Buffalo  3 – 1 St. Francis  W Buffalo, NY
6/2/1916 Buffalo  Rain-out Rochester  — Buffalo, NY


U B Names George Smith coach of baseball teamEarl Churchill, Baseball Manager


Schedule for 1916 Includes
Some of Best Teams in


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 diamond. Manager Earl Churchill yesterday announced a list of twenty-two names that will occupy the attention of the past timers 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 determination the board saw fit to recount the great work done by the mentor in putting 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 anticipated 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