Baltimore Went Wild Over the Orioles in 1894

The Orioles and baseball go back a long way with the city of Baltimore. Before the current O’s arrived in 1954, there were earlier teams of the same name.

1894 Orioles flag
1894 Orioles flag

We came across an interesting article in The Baltimore Sun from August 15th, 1920 detailing the wild celebrations following the Orioles success in the 1894 pennant race. Below is the article.

The shades of night were falling fast in Baltimore on Tuesday, September 25, 1894, when a telegram was flashed from Cleveland to all corners of this land. There was nothing much to that telegram, merely the statement:

Baltimore, 14; Cleveland, 9.

And yet that little telegram had a meaning of its own. It brought sorrow and gloom to New York and Boston. It set the tongues of a million baseball fans wagging from northeast Maine to Southwest Texas; from Atlantic City to San Francisco.

That telegram set loose the vocal chords of tens of thousands of residents of this jolly old town–a vast, wonderful, heart-tickling cacophany [sic] of cheers, whistles, hurrahs and plain old Rebel Yells. That telegram had given Baltimore its place in the sun, had made this city the pride of the home-folk and the envy of every stranger without our doors.

That meant that the Orioles, Ned Hanlon’s own Orioles, had won the National League pennant–the first baseball pennant that ever had come to this town in the history of baseball.

Up at Ford’s Opera House, where the marionettes had reproduced, play for play, the game in Cleveland, the rooters simply acted liking whirling dervishes. The cheers and yells threatened to rock the theatre to its foundation stones. Bedlam broke all bounds when Treasurer Vonderhorst, of the Baltimore team, walked out upon the stage at the end of the game carrying the pennant the Orioles had won.

For several days the ultimate triumph of Hanlon’s men had been a certainty, and the pennant had been made for the big celebration.

Out in Cleveland, the Orioles were given an ovation as they drove through the streets from the ball grounds to their hotel. Boys ran after their carriages and the whole town acclaimed them.

The champions were like schoolboys. As they rode through the Cleveland streets they yelled:

Are we in it,
Yes we are,
Baltimore, Baltimore,
Rah! Rah! Rah!

As the Orioles entered the lobby of The Hotel Hollenden they were mobbed by baseball bugs, all of whom told the victors how glad they were that Baltimore had won. The Orioles surrounded Hanlon, gave him three cheers and a tiger and then called upon him for a speech.

Those boys of 1894 had a great team, the greatest ever brought together on a diamond, but they knew it was Hanlon, Foxy Ned, who had led them on to fame. Not only had Hanlon made deals with other teams which made him out-Harum David Harum but he had kept his wonderful baseball machine steady all through the season.

Love that cheer. The story continues below.

Champion Orioles of 1894 Lying on the ground are: John McGraw and Willie Keeler. Front row: "Kid" Bill Gleason, Joe Kelly, Ned Hanlon, Wilbert Robinson, Bill Hoffer, and Hughie Jennings. Second row: Walter Brody, Henry Reitz, John McMahon, Frank Bowerman, and Artie Pool. Third row: Arthur Clarkson, George Hemming, George Carey and Bill Clark.
Champion Orioles of 1894
Lying on the ground are: John McGraw and Willie Keeler. Front row: “Kid” Bill Gleason, Joe Kelly, Ned Hanlon, Wilbert Robinson, Bill Hoffer, and Hughie Jennings. Second row: Walter Brody, Henry Reitz, John McMahon,
Frank Bowerman, and Artie Pool. Third row: Arthur Clarkson, George Hemming, George Carey and Bill Clark.

As soon as the Birds had copper-riveted the flag, the fans began preparations for a reception to the champions that would outdo anything that ever had been staged in the way of welcomes to heroes of th diamond or that might be staged down the long, long years of times.

They succeeded all right. Thousands of persons who are now limping with the pains of age and who are tottering their feeble way along never will forget that night of Wednesday October 3, 1894, when all of baltimore town turned out to greet her honored ones.

But before the Orioles got to their old home town their train had to run the gantlet [sic] of thousands of other admirers. The train was decorated in Chicago with the Maryland State and national colors and immense signs proclaiming the fact that the train was carrying “the Baltimore baseball team, champions of 1894.”

1894 Orioles medallion
1894 Orioles medallion

More than 200,000 persons lined the downtown streets of the city to cheer Hanlon’s men as they rode along in a parade in which more than 10,000 rooters of the city took part. Leaders in the financial and professional circles of the city, clergymen, doctors, lawyers, clerks, telephone girls, college students, messenger boys all were in line. Red lights and green lights were to be seen all along the march.

The police were unable to stem the rush of rooters who crowded around the carriages of the Orioles to shake the hands of the conquerers [sic]. Manager Hanlon and Captain Robbie rode in the first carriage and the police had the time of their lives forcing a way for their equipage. It was a noisy, versatile parade. There were hundreds of masked groups, dozens of uniformed ball teams, uniformed fraternal societies, floats galore, thirty or more pigs tied with black and old gold ribbons, while the whole town seemed smothered in the Oriole colors. Bands were playing everywhere.

When will we see something like this again?

About Tom

Tom founded Ghosts of DC on January 4th, 2012 as a blog to uncover the lost and untold history of Washington, D.C. He has lived in the city for over a decade and loves exploring every corner of the District.

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