Page 8     The Buffalo Sports Museum - Preserving Buffalo's Great Sports Past


Hall of Fame

This is my personal Hall of Fame.  
  Every once in a while I will add new members to this great Hall.  I will continue to add members until I feel I have run out of deserving members. Unlike other Halls of Fame there is no vote as I am the only member of the committee. If you feel I am leaving someone out, e-mail me, but be prepared to defend your suggestion. The only requirement is the person must have been active before 1989 (20 year wait).

Lou Saban would be my choice for All Time Bills Coach. After directing the Bills to back to back AFL titles, he would bring the Bills back to glory when he returned in 1972 and gave O.J. the ball. Just a great football coach. (Photo courtesy of Robert Smith)

Dr. Jack Ramsay was born to coach. Not only that, he was the best dressed coach in Buffalo history (check out the 70's duds!). For this, he is enshrined in my Hall of Fame.

Did you know? When Paul Snyder fired Jack Ramsay after the 1976 season the favorite to take over the job was none other than NY Knick great Willis Reed. Unfortunately for us he turned it down and Asst. Coach Tates Locke was given the job.

Gilbert Perreault and Gilles Villemure in action from the Sabres first ever game on 9/17 1970. The Sabres would build a 4-0 lead only to have it wind up in a 4-4 tie. Both players make my Hall of Fame.

Jack Kemp has always been a good friend to Buffalo. He was the Bills first real star.

Has there ever been a better O-line in Bills history? I don't think so. Reggie McKenzie, Joe DeLamielleure, Dave Foley, Bruce Jarvis, Mike Montler, Donnie Green and Paul Seymour gave the Juice all the room he needed.

Jim Lorentz earned his way into my Hall when one flick of the wrist took down a pesky bat in the '75 Finals. He would forever be known as "Batman". In an interview with me this past year he said people still call him that even 35 years later! 

Billy Shaw celebrates the back to back AFL Championships in '64 and '65 with owner Ralph Wilson. Say what you will about Wilson, he brought pro football to Buffalo and has kept it here ever since. The man has integrity. What will become of the Bills when he passes? Who knows.

One of the greatest pass catchers in NFL history. What Buffalo kid didn't try to make that sideline catch with their toes hugging the curb (a trademark Chandler catch). Fergy to Chandler was as good as Kelly to Reed.

Mike Ramsey was a rock on defense for the Sabres. He is generally regarded as one of the Sabres greatest defensemen of all time. We first got to know Mike as a member of the 1980 US Olympic team (that's him laying on his back). The Sabres held the rights to two other members of that team Rob McClanahan and Eric Strobel. McClanahan played a few years for the blue and gold, Strobel didn't.

Randy Smith WAS the Buffalo Braves. He was the Iron Man of the NBA.

Tom Sestak may have been the best defensive player in the AFL. If not for bad knees he would have been a first ballot Hall of Famer.

The "French Connection" was immortalized by Leroy Neiman in 1976. This shows just how important that line was in hockey as Neiman rarely painted hockey players.

Though he played a mere one season as a Brave, Adrian Dantley makes it into the Hall. This NBA Hall of Famer is one of the greatest players to come out of Notre Dame. What were the Braves thinking when they shipped this 1977 NBA Rookie of the Year to Indiana for next to nothing? He holds the distinction of being the only Rookie of the Year in all professional sports to be traded before his sophomore season.

Van Miller may have been the most versatile of all the local sports anchors. Not only was he voice of the Bills but also the Braves and Stallions. He along with Chuck Healy, Rick Azar and Ed Kilgore were the voices were heard give us all the details of our teams games.

Who can forget "Strikes, Spares and Misses" with Chuck Healy or "Beat The Champ" with Van Miller or how about "Bowling For Dollars" with Ed Kilgore? Buffalo has always been a hot bed for Bowling for sure.

Don Edwards came to Buffalo when Gerry Desjardins sustained a serious eye injury in February 1977. Arriving minutes prior to the home game on Feb. 13 against Minnesota, Don went out and won his first NHL start 6-2. Three nights later he recorded his first shoutout. Don would become an NHL All Star as a Sabre until his trade to Calgary in May, 1982 He is one of the Sabres all time great Goalies.

Leaving the world way too soon, Roger Crozier and Tim Horton both conducted themselves with honor and class. Sadly they don't make athletes like these two anymore.

Luscious "Luke" Easter, a Buffalo Hero, was killed by a mugger in 1979. He was held up and robbed as he was taking a deposit to a Cleveland bank. He refused to hand over the deposit and was shot and killed. No baseball player in Buffalo's long history will ever compare to Luke. I still hear stories from old time fans about his exploits on the diamond. 

Buffalo Sabres

Gilbert Perreault

Roger Crozier

Tim Horton

The Knox Family

Mike Foligno

Ted Darling

Don Edwards

Paul Wieland

Punch Imlach

Larry Playfair

Jacques Cloutier

Jim Schoenfeld

Rene Robert

Pat Lafontaine

Mike Robitaille

Jim Lorentz

Richard Martin

Mike Ramsey

Don Luce

Danny Gare

Buffalo Bills

Joe Ferguson

Bob Chandler

Jim Braxton

Frank Lewis

Ralph Wilson

Tom Sestak

Reggie McKenzie

Roland Hooks

Lou Saban

Kent Hull

Joe Cribbs

The Electric Company

Jack Kemp

The 1980 Bills Team

Billy Shaw

Eddie Abramoski

OJ Simpson

Scott Norwood

1964 Bills Team

Cookie Gilchrist

Booker Edgerson

Buffalo Braves

Bob McAdoo

Randy Smith

Jack Ramsay

Jim McMillian

Bob Kaufmann

Bob MacKinnon

Ernie DiGregorio

Adrian Dantley

Gar Heard

Van Miller

Danny Neaverth

Dolph Schayes

Ray Melchiorre

Buffalo Bisons Hockey

Gilles Villemure

The Pastor Family

Larry Wilson

Frank Christie

Guy Trottier

Frank Eddolls

Billy Dea

Dennis DeJordy

Buffalo Bisons Baseball

Luke Easter

Ollie Carnegie

Stan Barron

Buffalo Stallions

Jim May

Ernie Buriano

Buffalo Bandits

John Tavares

George "Punch" Imlach the Sabres first coach and GM gets a warm welcome from Seymour and Norty. He bled blue and gold for 9 seasons.

Jim May shared the crease mainly with Scott Manning for the Stallions. May has been a tireless ambassador for Soccer here in the Buffalo area, for this he is enshrined in my Hall of Fame.

Dennis DeJordy was another goalie who went on to the NHL after honing his craft in Buffalo.

Bob Kauffman was the Braves first All Star. Every girl of the era loved Bob!

Jim "Bubba" Braxton was the muscle in OJ's backfield. He is one of the Bills all time unsung heroes. Not in my Hall, he was always a favorite of mine.

One of the classiest athletes to play for a Buffalo team was Mike Foligno. He was everything we wanted in a hockey player, tough, gritty, could score and oh was that leap the greatest celebration since Billy "White Shoes" Johnson! Mike is one of my favorite athletes of all time.

Frank Christie was not only head trainer of the Sabres but his time in Buffalo dated back to the 1940's with the AHL Bisons. He's the trainer who did it all.

Scott Norwood provided stability in the kicking game for the Bills from 1985-1991 something lacking since Nick Mike Meyer.  Sadly some fans remember him for "The Kick" in Super Bowl XXV. After meeting him recently I can honestly tell you he is one of the nicest athletes I have ever met in Buffalo history. Scott started as a soccer player and was recruited to become a football kicker. He always conducted himself with professionalism.

If I had one game I had to win, I would pick Roger Crozier to be my goaltender. Roger had the uncanny ability to excel in the biggest games. His acrobatic style was a view into the future of goaltending: Grant Fuhr, Martin Brodeur, Dominik Hasek and Patrick Roy all played with his style.

The 1964 Bills are always regarded as the best Bills team in their 50 years. The team won with great defense and a bruising running back named Cookie Gilchrist. Most football historians believe that if the '64 Bills played the '64 NFL Champion Cleveland Browns the Bills would have won. The Bills would have to wait 2 more years for the first Super Bowl and by that time the team was starting its slide losing to the Chiefs in the '66 AFL Title Game.

Joe Cribbs was a very underrated tailback from 1980-1983. He would leave for the USFL but would return for the 1985 season. He never regained that touch however and was traded away to the 49ers.

Paul Wieland was former Public Relations Director for the Sabres. It was he who came up with the drafting of Taro Tsujimoto. Paul's wild sense of humor led to the annual April Fool's Day practical jokes which included "Sliderex" (no more need for real ice, the NHL would soon be playing on plastic ice), the selling of 1 sq. inch of Aud ice to anyone who wanted it and the ever popular utilizing the USS Sullivans battleship as the new Training Camp for the Sabres. Paul has become a close friend in recent years and I never tire of hearing all his old stories.

The Aud was my favorite Arena/Stadium in Buffalo. What didn't I see in that place? Sabres, Braves, Stallions, Globetrotters, Circus, Wrestling, Boxing, Tennis, Concerts. I graduated there, had proms there, you name it. The place was just the best, so unique from any other building I was ever in.

Check back monthly for new inductions!

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