The Baltimore Orioles' last season at Memorial Stadium already was cause for celebration for the fans who have their sights set on a tearful, nostalgic farewell to the team's home since 1954.
Yesterday, the Orioles gave them another reason to look forward to 1991. They announced their ticket prices for next season will be unchanged.
For the second year, Orioles ticket prices will be as high as $11 for 7,502 lower-box seats and as low as $1.50 for senior citizens and children who buy one of 13,304 general-admission tickets at Memorial Stadium.
In other ticket-related news, the Orioles said they will institute a special procedure for selling tickets for Opening Day (April 8 vs. ohe Chicago White Sox) and for the final home series (Oct. 4-6 against the Detroit Tigers). Because demand for tickets to those games is expected to be unusually heavy, the Orioles are devising the special plan, which they said they will announce later.
Yesterday's announcement marks the fourth time in five years that the Orioles haven't charged more for their tickets than the previous season. The price increase occurred after the 1989 season, when Orioles officials added as much as $1.50 to the cost of 40,713 of 54,017 seats at Memorial Stadium.
Orioles principal owner Eli S. Jacobs declined to discuss his role in setting the ticket prices for next season. Reached in his New York office yesterday, Jacobs said, "I don't think it's germane."
Orioles president Larry Lucchino said: "We looked at our history and at other teams, and we did what we thought was fair. We decided that holding the line would be an appropriate thing to do in light of the fan support we've had."
Lucchino declined to discuss whether, or how seriously, team officials considered a price increase.
Most major-league teams have not announced what they will charge for tickets in 1991. However, last season the Orioles' price for their best seats was about average among American League teams. Of the 13 other AL teams, seven charged more for their choicest seats than the Orioles, two charged the same and four charged less.
Teams that asked more than the Orioles were the Boston Red Sox ($16), Toronto Blue Jays and Oakland Athletics ($15), Milwaukee Brewers ($13), New York Yankees ($12) and White Sox and Seattle Mariners ($11.50). These prices do not refer to ticket sales in connection with the rentals of sky suites.
The Orioles also announced that ticket sales for regular-season games (excluding Opening Day and the final home series) will begin the day of the team's annual winter carnival, expected to be Feb. 2. Starting that day, tickets can be purchased at the Memorial Stadium ticket office and TicketCenter locations.
The Orioles are accepting ticket orders by mail. The orders must include a $1.50 postage and handling charge and be sent to the Baltimore Orioles, Memorial Stadium, Baltimore, Md. 21218.