Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Buffalo Germans

Buffalo sports teams have a maligned past. The Bills reached four straight Super Bowls and lost each time, while the Sabres have been victimized by events like Brett Hull's "Game winning Goal." The city's only bright spot seems to be the Bandits who are four time champions in the NLL. For eight years the city had its own basketball team, the Buffalo Braves who are now the Los Angeles Clippers, another franchise without a title.

Despite the city's bleak track record, it has been the home of great champions besides the Bandits. In 1895 a YMCA on the East Side formed a basketball team of the neighborhood's most talented players. This team would have a run in the Amateur Athletics Association, a precursor to the NBA, where they would win 111 games in a row, a streak that lasted from 1908-1910 and the teams final record before disbanding in 1925 was 792-86. In 1961 the entire team was inducted in the the Basketball Hall of Fame and is one of ten teams to have been inducted as a unit. Some of the other teams inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame include the Harlem Globetrotters, 1960 Mens Olympic Basketball Team and the 1992 Mens Olympic Basketball Team. In addition to their accolades in league play, the Buffalo Germans won two major tournaments, the second of which brought a world championship to Buffalo.

Image from
The first tournament won by the Buffalo Germans was held as part of the Pan-American Exposition, six years after the team's inception. At least seven teams from across the Northeast competed at the event and the Buffalo Germans emerged victorious after going undefeated in the tournament. In 1904 the Buffalo Germans again took part in a major tournament, this time in St. Louis Missouri as part of the 1904 Olympics. The basketball tournament in these Olympic games was held from July 11-12 and featured six teams. They were The Buffalo Germans, The Westside and Central YMCA of Chicago, Turner's Tigers from San Francisco, The Missouri Athletic Club, The Central YMCA of St. Louis, and The Xavier Athletic Club of New York. Though only six teams competed, the tournament was doubtlessly a grueling affair. Using a round robin format each team played five games over two days. Again the Buffalo Germans went undefeated and following their victory in the tournament they proclaimed themselves World Champions, a title they doubtlessly deserved.
The Buffalo Germans with their trophies Image taken from Wikipedia.

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