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 39-30, is available now.

#26

George Saimes, Bills. After a great career at Michigan State, Saimes became the best free safety in the history of the American Football League. George is on the Bills’ Wall of Fame and was selected for the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame. Others: Thomas Vanek, Sabres; Charles Romes, Bills; Derek Plante, Sabres.

Mike Waggoner’s Numerology:  George Saimes was before my time, but if he’s on the Bills Wall of Fame, it’s hard to argue with that selection. If this was a Sabres-only list? Now that’s a debate. Thomas Vanek and Derek Plante had comparable impact during their time in Buffalo. Vanek was clearly the better goal scorer, but Plante was a top line center, and scored one of the biggest goals in Sabres history, especially during the black and red years, when his overtime blast trickled by Ron Tugnutt, beating Ottawa in Game 7 of 1997’s first round playoff series. Vanek, on the other hand, was not known to be clutch in the playoffs, but topped 40 goals twice in a low scoring NHL era.

Missed any of the previous numbers from 99 to 27?  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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