Ollie Carnegie

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Professional Baseball Player

Several men have played professional baseball in Buffalo, only to go on to the major leagues and other cities on their way to greatness. The legend of the late Ollie Carnegie, however, was forged right here with the Buffalo Bisons.

The Buffalo Bisons acquired Carnegie in 1931 from Hazelton, PA of the New York-Pennsylvania League for $500. For a player who had hit .354 with 18 home runs in 58 games in the NYP league, it was a bargain. There was one drawback, however — Carnegie was 32 years old.

Carnegie had actually turned professional in 1922, in the Michigan-Ontario League. The then 23-year old played only a handful of games before an appendicitis operation stopped his career in its tracks. A real-life Roy Hobbs, Carnegie reappeared nine years later with the Hazelton club and then the Bisons, where his legendary career would unfold.

All Carnegie did during his twelve years with the Bisons (1931-41, 45) was play 1273 games, compiling 1362 hits, 249 doubles, 258 home runs and 1044 runs batted in – all of which rank him first in the Bisons’ record book.

Carnegie six times clubbed 25 or more home runs in a season, and his 45 round trippers in 1938 still stands as a Buffalo Bisons’ record. He also led his club in batting average three times and runs batted in seven times, with personal bests of .335 in 1934 and 153 in 1935 for average and RBIs, respectively.

Carnegie never had a chance to play in the major leagues. Although a handful of teams were interested in him, his age eventually scared away each of his suitors from the bigs.

In 1985, nine years after his death, Ollie Carnegie was an inaugural inductee into the Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame. In 1992, the legend of Ollie Carnegie was enshrined in the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame.