By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist

Dan Brouthers – Signed by the Bisons in 1881

Buffalo baseball fans would have been quite excited if they had the chance to see Mickey Mantle play here in his prime. They sort of had the chance when they watched Dan Brouthers suit up for the Herd in the early 1880s.

Brouthers grew up in the Hudson Valley, and first signed with Troy in 1879. He was quickly dropped by that National League team. The first baseman received another chance in 1880, but was cut again. The Bisons signed him before the 1881 season, and all the first baseman did when given the chance is to lead the NL in home runs and slugging percentage. Brouthers kept it up for the next five seasons, winning two batting titles and was known as one of the most feared sluggers in the league.

Buffalo came upon hard financial times late in the 1885 season, and Brouthers along with the rest of the roster was traded to Detroit. He essentially played through 1896, finishing with a career batting average of .342. Brouthers showed he could run once stolen bases were tracked; he had as many as 34 in a season. That sort of power and speed caught the eye of voters for the Baseball Hall of Fame, and he was inducted in 1945.

Here’s a modern look at Dan’s swing:

(Follow Budd on Twitter @WDX2BB)

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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