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    1889 Baltimore Orioles (Future New York Yankees) Application to Join National League. Make no mistake--this is not the Baltimore Orioles of the Robinsons and the Ripkens, which appropriated the name when the St. Louis Browns moved to town in 1954. The presented document was penned by William Barnie, the president and manager of the American Association club which would represent the National League from 1892 until its contraction from twelve to eight teams at the close of the 1899 campaign. Inactive during the 1900 season, the Baltimore Orioles club resurfaced in 1901 with third baseman John McGraw back in the skipper's chair after his 1899 debut in the position. Two years later the club would relocate to uptown Manhattan, changing its name to the New York Highlanders. Ultimately, after a decade at Hilltop Park, the club set up shop at the famous Polo Grounds, where it would take on another moniker which survives to this day: The New York Yankees.

    With an economy of text disproportionate to its weighty significance, the document reads,

    "New York, Nov. 15, 1889

    The Baltimore Base Ball Club, an organization located in the City of Baltimore, Maryland, duly organized and officered, hereby respectfully asks admission to membership in the National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs.

    [signed] W. Barnie, President."

    While its status as a seminal document in the history of American sports' most storied franchise elevates the document to the upper reaches of collectibility, it would be unfair to overlook the Baltimore Orioles of the 1890's, which was arguably the most influential club of that decade. Credit can be given to Hall of Fame manager Ned Hanlon, whose leadership inspired the likes of McGraw, Wilbert Robinson, Hughie Jennings, and Kid Gleason, each of whom would come to prominence in managerial roles following his playing days in Baltimore. The Orioles were also participants in all four Temple Cup series (1894-97), claiming victory in the first three.

    Page of stationery from a New York City hotel measures 5 x 6.5" in size with a single mailing fold but no other flaws to note. All text is 9/10. Pencil writing on verso. Document derives from the estate of Nicholas E. Young, first secretary of the National League, and N.L. President from 1885-1902. Full LOA from PSA/DNA. Full LOA from James Spence Authentication.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2010
    5th Thursday
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