by Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page

We are counting from 99 to 0 to determine who’s the best Buffalo athlete to wear each number.  It’s Buffalo Sports By The Numbers here on Buffalo Sports Page.

We’ll have a new number and athlete every day this summer.  Each story also includes reaction from the Buffalo Sports Page staff, and a way to catch up on numbers you’ve missed.

After every 10 numbers, a Sylvester & Peck On Sports podcast will feature Budd Bailey and the guys reacting to the selections.  The latest edition, recapping 29-20, is available now.

#20

Don Luce, Sabres. Acquired from Detroit, Don became one of the best two-way forwards in hockey. He and Craig Ramsay were superb penalty-killers; they were often called by the other’s name during their time together. Others: Joe Cribbs, Bills; Robert James, Bills; Abby Wambach, Flash.  

Paul Peck’s Digit Discussion:  Beyond what Don Luce did on the ice, his legacy will always be tied to Alexander Mogilny.  It was Luce, then the Sabres personnel chief, who actually accompanied Mogilny as he defected from Russia.  Luce has great stories of what was a Jason Bourne-like adventure, sneaking around foreign countries and avoiding the KGB.  Mogilny became the first Russian hockey star to defect at a young age, and paved the way for so many Russian stars to play in the NHL.  Don Luce was a part of that.

Missed any of the previous numbers from 99 to 21?  Visit the Buffalo Sports By The Numbers section on the home page.

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey has been involved in almost every aspect of the local sports scene for the last 40 years. He worked for WEBR Radio, the Buffalo Sabres' public relations department and The Buffalo News during that time. In that time he covered virtually every aspect of the area's sports world, from high schools to the Bills and Sabres and everything in between. Along the way, Budd served as a play-by-play announcer for the Bisons, an analyst for the Stallions, and a talk-show host. He won the National Lacrosse League's Tom Borrelli Award as the media personality of the year in 2011, and was a finalist for that same award in 2017. Budd's seventh and eighth books, one on the Transcontinental Railroad and the other about Ichiro Suzuki, are scheduled to be released in the fall.

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