While the Orioles play their opening game in Oriole Park at Camden Yards today, let's look at a yellowed copy of The Evening Sun's "All-Star Sports Final" edition of Thursday, April 15, 1954.
On that day 38 years ago Memorial Stadium opened "for the first official championship game here since Sept. 30, 1902, when the 8th place Oriole club sold its franchise to the New York Highlanders, now the world-champion Yankees."
What prices did we pay back in 1954?
LOOKING BACK: "Hesscraft" fine men's shoes $8.95; Food Fair turkeys 53 cents a pound; Evening Sun 5 cents; asparagus 19 cents a pound; men's Arrow shirt $3.95; Coca-Cola (Memorial Stadium) 40 cents; Oriole Cafeteria roast turkey dinner 48 cents; "best cup of coffee in town" at Julius Gutman & Co. lunch counter, Park Avenue and Lexington Street, 5 cents. And that day the Dow Jones average closed at 313.77. (For today's level, see Market Watch below.)
LOOKING AHEAD: Following are today's prices for the above items and (in parentheses) approximately what they will cost 10 years from today (2002) if the same inflation rate in these items prevails as from 1954 to today: Fine men's shoes now $60 ($125 in 10 years); turkeys $1.19 a pound ($1.60); Evening Sun 50 cents ($1.25); asparagus $1.90 a pound ($4.20); men's Arrow shirt $30 ($65); stadium Coca-Cola $1.50 ($2.70); cafeteria turkey dinner $5 ($11); department store coffee 60 cents ($1.30.)
BASEBALL MAILBAG: A local stock broker writes, "I know you'll write a baseball column on opening day, so I'll share some baseball chatter I use with my prospects and clients. I tell them, 'the idea in investing your money is not to hit a lot of home runs. If you try that, you'll get into trouble. Try to hit a lot of singles and doubles and, more importantly, not to strike out.' This baseball lingo gives people a sense of security and a conservative way of investing, something they like these days."
BASEBALL NOTES: Try to catch The Larry King show, WBAL Radio, some night this week (11 p.m.-5 a.m.) when he will probably play Frank Sinatra's classic, "There Used To Be a Ballpark Right Here." . . . Notes and quotes from Memorial Stadium opening week: "Vice President Nixon Pitches First Ball." . . . "This (Memorial Stadium) is an impressive sight, and a great credit to Baltimore." (Red Smith, New York columnist, in Sun sports editor Jesse Linthicum's column) . . . "All Baltimore will rejoice today at the happy news. The St. Louis Browns will soon become the Baltimore Orioles." (Front-page editorial, The Sun).
APRIL SHOWERS: Now that Daylight Savings Time is here, be sure to pick up new Amtrak timetables at Penn Station, also BWI flight schedules by calling 859-7034. Before traveling, tuck them in your briefcase so you know what train or airline can bring you home if plans change or flights are canceled . . . Caution note: although the Dow Jones average was up 18 points last week, all other major averages fell. All three panelists on "Wall Street Week with Louis Rukeyser" felt that the market is overvalued. . . . Although thousands of people will be cheering and eating at the baseball opener today, hundreds of men, women and children in the stadium area and elsewhere are hungry. Phone me (my numbers are in the phone book) for places where you may send money and food . . . "Defensive Honors Go To Turley in Stadium Victory." (Headline, The Sun, April 16, 1954) . . . Baltimore Captured Last Big League Pennant in 1896." (Sun headline, Wed., Sept. 30, 1953).