By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist
Ollie Carnegie – Signed by the Bisons in 1931
If you’ve seen “The Natural” –what Buffalo baseball fan hasn’t? – you should know that you shouldn’t give up on your dream. Ollie Carnegie didn’t.
The Pittsburgh native was offered pro contracts around 1920, but chose not to sign them. Instead, he ended up in Flint Vehicles of the Michigan-Ontario League in 1922. Carnegie had an attack of appendicitis, and dropped out of organized ball. He played semi-pro ball until 1931, when he needed a job and signed with Hazelton (Pa.). Carnegie hit .354 for the Mountaineers that season.
That’s when the Bisons bought the rights to the 32-year-old, and started a relationship that lasted for more than a decade. Carnegie hit .333 with 36 homers in 137 games as a rookie in 1932. For the next decade, he was a fixture in the Buffalo lineup, thanks to the fact that major league teams thought he was too old to consider signing.
Carnegie’s numbers in Buffalo were spectacular. He batted .309 with 1,665 hits, 48 triples, 297 home runs, and a .548 slugging percentage. The outfielder is the Bisons’ all-time leader in several offensive categories. No Bison will ever wear No. 6 again.
Let’s take a quick look back at him:
(Follow Budd on Twitter @WDX2BB)