The Houston Buffaloes (Houston Buffs) were a successful minor league baseball team long before there were Houston Astros. Organized baseball had existed in Houston since before the Civil War. The Houston Buffs, a professional baseball team, did not appear until 1905.
In the years between 1861 and 1905, Houston fielded amateur and semi-professional baseball teams, such as the Houston Base Ball Club, the Stonewalls, the Nationals, the Babies, and the Mud Cats. Games were sporadic. Houston joined the Texas League, which faded in and out of existence. Otherwise, games were exhibition games or ones in fleeting start-up leagues.
Becoming the Buffs
In 1905, the team became the Houston Buffaloes, and would remain so until Houston joined major League Baseball in 1962. The Buffs won the resurrected Texas League in 1909 and 1910. Games took place at Herald Park on Travis Street, and West End Park at the corner of Koehler and Patterson, near Shepherd. Then in 1928, the Buffs moved to Buffalo Stadium, where they would remain until Houston joined major League Baseball in 1962.
Buffalo Stadium was located near the intersection of Cullen Blvd. and today’s Gulf Freeway. It was substantial construction, seating 14,000 fans. Buff Stadium rivaled some major league parks at the time of completion in 1928. When the stadium, later dubbed Busch Stadium during its association with the St. Louis Cardinals, was demolished in 1963, it sold for less than $20,000.
By 1928, the St. Louis Cardinals had purchased the Buffs and operated them as a farm club until 1958. Several future Hall of famers played in Houston. They included Dizzy Dean, Solly Hemus, and Joe Medwick. The Buffs won their share of league championships too.
In 1962, the Houston Buffs gave way to the National League Colt 45s. Action also shifted to Colt Stadium, now the Astrodome parking lot. The Astrodome opened in April of 1965 along with Houston club’s final name change to the Astros. This writer was lucky to attend that first game pitting the Astros against the Yankees. I remember Mickey Mantle hitting a home run over the center field fence. I also currently live next door to the grandson of Don Nottebart. Nottebart pitched the first major league no-hitter for Houston on May 17, 1963 at Colts Stadium.
- Year Started: 1905
- Year Ended: 1962
- Origin Of Name: Named after Houston’s main waterway, Buffalo Bayou
- Location Sales: Southwest USA
- Brand Name Predecessor: Several
- Brand Name Successor: Houston Astros
- Owner Original: Civic Sports Associations
- Owner While In Use: Civic Sports Associations
- Owner Successor: Houston Sports Association
- Year Resurrected: N/A
- What’s Popular Today: Houston Astros
- Naics Code: 711211
- Location Headquarters: Houston, Texas USA