Thorn: John B. Sage, a forgotten titan of Buffalo baseball

From SABR member John Thorn at Our Game on December 12, 2018:

His obituary, from The Buffalo Enquirer of September 15, 1904, indicates he had already been forgotten: “John B. Sage is dead. How many of the younger generation in Buffalo knew this man, who for years was prominent in both baseball and trotting horse sport? Very few, I’ll wager.”

Another Buffalo paper, the Times, noted his passing at age 70 and referenced his local business activity, including his interest in horses and his role as secretary of the Buffalo Trotting Association. The paper noted that he was survived by a son and two daughters, one of whom cared for him in her New York City home at the end. His remains were to be returned to Buffalo and interment at Forest Lawn Cemetery. There was no mention of Sage’s place in baseball.

The Buffalo Courier, in its obituary notice, observed: “In his youth he was fond of athletics and was known to the fans of bygone generation as the clever catcher of the Niagara baseball team.” The Niagara was an important club in the 1850s, and Sage was captured in a historic team portrait — he is fourth from the right in the 1857 image below.

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Originally published: December 13, 2018. Last Updated: December 13, 2018.