A century has passed since the upstart Federal League (a would-be rival to the long-established American and National leagues) celebrated its first Opening Day as a major league on April 13, 1914. On that day, the Baltimore Terrapins played host to the Buffalo Bisons, welcoming Baltimore Mayor James Preston, numerous officials from City Hall, and some 30,000 fans to the recently completed Terrapin Park. The assemblage was heralded as the largest crowd ever to witness a ball game in “Charm City.”
Meanwhile, that very same day and just across the street from Terrapin Park, the Baltimore Orioles faced the New York Giants in a pre-season exhibition game at Oriole Park. The Orioles were considered serious contenders for the International League pennant that season, and hopes were high that their match-up against the reigning National League champions would attract a large crowd. But despite the presence of big league stars such as Christy Mathewson, Rube Marquard and John McGraw, just 1,500 die-hards attended the game at Oriole Park.
In hindsight, the 1,500 fans who watched the Orioles play that day were the lucky ones, for they saw a young man whose fame would eclipse that of every other ball player on either diamond. The Orioles started a 19-year-old southpaw pitcher the club had signed just two months before, a local kid named George “Babe” Ruth.