GRAND ISLAND, N.Y. (WIVB) — “It means a lot, it does there’s a lot of civic pride when you’re talking Buffalo sports.”
From the war memorial stadium’s sign, a ticket from the first Bills game, pieces of The Aud, and even Scott Norwood’s jersey he wore during the wide right kick, if you’re looking for an artifact of Buffalo sports– John Boutet might have it already on display.
“I’ve always saved everything,” said John Boutet, site chairman of Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame and Bills Basement owner. “When I went to a game I saved a ticket, or a program or my father would buy me a pennant at the game and bring it home, so I would always save all of those things. I was never a person who would throw them out so that’s kind of how I got into it.”
Boutet’s love of finding sports treasures started when he collected baseball cards as a kid.
More than 50 years later, he’s finding historic valuables, online, in antique shops, garage and estate sales–and even just by word of mouth, his basement has something from every Buffalo team in history.
“History is very important in our society in general, and in Buffalo, especially with sports, it’s so important to us that we shouldn’t forget the past, and I would love to have a buffalo sports museum,” said Boutet. “Dedicated to just the history of Buffalo sports and I’d love to do that here.”
When you walk through Boutet’s museum located here in his basement, everywhere you look you see a piece of Buffalo sports history. And with every artifact, comes a story that he loves to tell.
“I’m a teacher,” said Boutet. “It kind of ties into what I do for a living. I think it’s important to teach people of today the past and where it came from.”
Boutet believes, for a city that known for its love of sports, Buffalo’s in need for a public Buffalo sports history museum for everyone to come and learn.
“I think most Bills fans don’t realize some of the stories we’ve told,” said Boutet. “About the different colors, about their first game, where they came from, American Football League. So I think it’s important that that gets passed on to new generations.”
But for now, if you’re interested in learning more about his collection and buffalo sports history, you might find Boutet’s book, “Buffalo’s Got the Spirit, Collecting Buffalo Sports History,” in a local library.