John Boutet is a regular guy, with a special talent for scouting Buffalo sports memorabilia. He’s a full-time elementary phys-ed teacher, and archivist and curator for the Buffalo Bisons. Currently, Boutet is in possession of an immaculate collection of Buffalo Sports memorabilia that is housed in a museum in the basement of his home.
Boutet started collecting Sabres ticket stubs at the Memorial Auditorium as a 7 year old – he was fascinated by the different colors of the tickets. Soon he was on to collecting programs, baseball cards, and anything else Buffalo sports related. His collection now includes every Buffalo Bills game program from their inception in 1960 to now, almost every Sabres program from their inception in 1970 to now, most Buffalo Braves NBA programs, and Bisons programs dating from 1879. That is just his collection of game programs. His collection contains everything from game worn jerseys of long ago Buffalo sports teams, to pieces of the basketball floor from the Aud. It is simply amazing to see.
For me, it’s an addiction to the love of collecting items with historical significance, specifically historical Buffalo sports significance – John Boutet
A love for baseball was the catalyst for Mr. Boutet to create The Buffalo Sports Museum. He had been acquiring baseball memorabilia throughout his life. At one point, he had such a large collection that he began to think about how to display it all.
He initially tried an exhibit at a location downtown, but the logistics proved to be too tough. So, he and a few buddies started working to transform his suburban basement into a full-on museum, which took them about three months. Walking into the museum feels almost like walking into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown. Indeed, his collection is so extraordinary that the Baseball Hall of Fame has brought him in to authenticate artifacts, and some of his collection has actually been lent to them for display. He also has a satellite museum set up at Coca-Cola field behind home plate with much of his Buffalo Baseball collection displayed, including a Wall of Fame with plaques of famous contributors and players who have had an impact on baseball in Buffalo throughout the last century and a half.
Boutet has published a book called “Baseball in Buffalo” which can be found here. He is also working on a new addition to the seminal “The 100 Seasons of Buffalo Baseball”, by Joseph M. Overfield which was published in 1985. He is currently working with Mr. Overfield’s grandson to publish an addition to the book which will cover the reincarnation of the Buffalo Bisons, from 1988 to the present and their current stint in the International League at Coca-Cola Field.
Baseball is a huge part of the sporting history of Buffalo, and Boutet’s collection transports fans to a special time and place, helping people to connect with the past by allowing visitors to touch, smell, and see things which simply cannot be matched. He even has original cigarette and tobacco pouches that, in the old days, included baseball cards. Another thing that is absolutely outstanding about his collection is that if visitors are careful, they can pick up and touch the artifacts. I got to hold a Mickey Mantle bat (game used) that is on display. It was thrilling. Below are some pictures of the museum, which I encourage every Buffalo sports fan to try and make an appointment to visit. All images courtesy of John Boutet and The Buffalo Sports Museum.
This collection is amazing and I encourage anyone who is interested in viewing it to go to Coca-Cola field this summer, view the Bisons Hall of Fame exhibit, and introduce yourself to John Boutet. He is a gracious historian who is happy to share his World Class collection of historically significant artifacts with interested persons.