Ah, the wonders of fate and circumstance! With their glory years long-since passed, the Baltimore Orioles continued to toil in the International League when apparent tragedy struck in 1944. Rendered homeless when fire consumed Oriole Park in the wee hours on July 3, the resilient flock embraced its city’s blue collar work ethic and authored a championship season whose culmination perhaps sealed Baltimore’s fate as a Major League city. These artifacts hail from that incredible season. Includes: Multi-Signed Baseball: a toned “Spalding” orb with inscriptions citing the club’s emergency move to Memorial Stadium; Junior World Series Program issued at Memorial Stadium, the 28-page guide features scoring grids marked in pencil with pre-printed lineups listing the combatants. More on our website.
Regarding the 1944 season, the Orioles were faring well when a fire of unknown origin completely destroyed their Oriole Park venue during the evening and morning hours of July 3 and 4. Left only with the charred remains of the team’s equipment and edifice on 29th and Greenmount, the club took refuge at the city’s football stadium. Located less than a mile to the northeast, Municipal Stadium was (unbeknownst to the city and its team) the key to Baltimore’s historically rich baseball future. After posting an 84-68 regular season mark, the Orioles defeated the Newark Bears to win the International League’s “Governors’ Cup.” Up next was a showdown with the American Association champion Louisville Colonels in the Junior World Series, which the Orioles won, four games to two.
The offered program was issued on October 9 at Municipal Stadium for Game 4 of that series. On that fateful day, 52,833 attended, outnumbering the crowd from the concurrent Fall Classic opener between the St. Louis Browns and Cardinals. This caught the attention of Major League executives and set the stage for the move of a Major League team (the Browns, ironically) to Baltimore in 1954. The program presents nicely and appropriately, has a hometown feel with dozens of advertisements for local establishments and products. National Bohemian Beer, not surprising, is one of those products. Nearly 70 years later, “Natty Boh” remains a favorite at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The center (scorecard) page is detached, but present. The pre-printed lineups include no fewer than six Orioles (Blas Monaco, Stan Benjamin, Howie Moss, Felix Mackiewicz, Frank Skaff and Sherm Lollar) who would go on to the big leagues. The scoring grids are marked in pencil to document a 5-4 Louisville triumph. The visitors led, 5-0 at one point and staved off an Oriole uprising highlighted by Bob Latsahw’s three-run triple.
The baseball has inscriptions suggesting use at the Orioles’ “new” stadium. Obscuring the stampings, a blue-ink inscription reads: “Hit by Filopwicz (sic) “Jersey City” caught by “Armstrong” – HOMER.” Steve Filipowicz played for the Jersey City Giants in 1944. Just below, an inscription reads “Stadium 7-16-44 Opening Day.” On an adjacent panel, an inscription reads: “To Balto The New Stadium.” Given the inscriptions and dates, it’s highly probably that this ball hails from an Orioles-Giants game at Municipal Stadium during the 1944 season.