An indirect but vital component to the current version of baseball in Baltimore, this 1915 Baltimore Terrapins Federal League stock certificate is a rare and storied survivor of the short-lived circuit. The crisp parchment measures 11-3/8 x 8-1/4” and features a heading that reads: “The Federal BaseBall Club of Baltimore.” In elegant cursive font, the body reads:
“This certifies that Carroll W. Rasin (name is handwritten) is the owner of one hundred (amount is stamped) fully paid and non-assessable shares of the par value of Ten Dollars ($10.00) each, of the Common Capital Stock of The Federal Base Ball Club of Baltimore, Inc., This certificate is transferable only on the books of the corporation by the holder hereof in person or by duly authorized attorney upon the surrender of this certificate properly endorsed. In Witness Whereof, the said corporation has caused this certificate to be signed by its duly authorized officers and to be sealed with the seal of the corporation at Baltimore, Md. this 31st (numerals handwritten) day of March A.D., 1915 (calendar date is handwritten)”
At the bottom, the team’s assistant treasurer has signed on the left. At the lower right, Baltimore politician (and unsuccessful baseball owner) Rasin has signed in black-ink steel tip fountain pen. The gorgeous penmanship and evenly distributed pen pressure combine to show (“9”) strength and clarity. On the reverse, an addition Rasin signature projects similar potency.
The 1915 season proved to be the undoing of the Terrapins (as well as the entire Federal League). Coming off a respectable 84-70 showing in their inaugural year (1914), the Terrapins went all out and plucked Chief Bender from the defending American League champion Philadelphia Athletics. Bender, who had gone 17-3 with seven shutouts for the 1914 A’s, faltered to 4-16 for the Terrapins, contributing to the team’s horrific 47-107 record. Ah, but now for the “silver lining:” with Terrapin Park now vacated in the Federal League’s absence, the International League’s Orioles took over and remained until fire engulfed the wooden structure in July, 1944. Forced to play the remainder of that year’s campaign at Municipal Stadium (later to gain fame as “Memorial Stadium”), the Orioles rallied to both International League and Little World Series titles, drawing sizable crowds to their new and immense home. The booming attendance caught the collective eye of Major League executives, who were quick to grant the City of Baltimore a franchise when the moribund St. Louis Browns became the Baltimore Orioles in 1954.
The offered heirloom presents beautifully with ornate finery framing the legal jargon. There are two vertical compacting folds and a serrated left edge.