“I feel strange—but its a grand occasion,” said MdHS President George L. Radcliffe, dressed in a bushy brown wig, yellow-plumed black hat, tunic, and breeches of Cecilius Calvert, as he stood with 350,000 other Baltimoreans, celebrating the return of the Orioles to the Major Leagues on April 15, 1954. Described as the “parade of the century,” civic organizations, manufacturers, merchants, and breweries of Baltimore designed elaborate floats and marched from Johns Hopkins, south down Charles Street, west on Madison, down Howard, east on Baltimore Street, and from Holliday east to the Fallsway.*
Clowns, army men, beauty queens, a marching band, and Vice-President Richard Nixon (who threw out the first pitch of their inaugural home game), can all be seen in this clip from “Play Ball with the Orioles,” narrated by legendary announcer Ernie Harwell (1918-2010). Noticably absent from the festivities was Baltimore mayor Tommy D’Alesandro Jr., who was in the hospital and ordered to bedrest by his doctors. D’Alesandro was instrumental in bringing a major league team back to Baltimore after more than 50 years,** after he promised his constituents a big leage stadium and a team to fill it. His dream was realized when the St. Louis Browns franchise moved east to become the Baltimore Orioles of the American League.
“Play Ball with the Orioles” will be screened in its entirety at MdhS on Saturday Oct. 13th as part of ”Maryland on Film.” Admission is free! (Eben Dennis)
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