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ORIOLES STOCK: STEADY
In this season of annual stockholders' meetings, and soft spots here and there in rails, oils and motors, a staff member of this magazine has just returned from Baltimore, where he attended the annual stockholders meeting of the Baltimore Baseball Club, a sporting and business venture. A year ago, for an outlay of $11, he became the holder of one share in the Orioles. His notes:
"Another stockholder, youngish, walked in and offered me his credentials in form of written announcement of meeting. Declined to accept them on ground I, too, was just a stockholder. Finally there were 11 of us assembled. One was a woman, Mrs. Isabelle Schaub. She is an assistant professor of microbiology at Johns Hopkins; handsome silver-blonde and owner of 50 shares. Her husband gives them to her a few shares at a time at Christmas.
"No box lunches or anything passed around. Strictly business. A man with the improbable name of Zanvyl Krieger, treasurer of our company, announced profit of $225,000 for 1957 season. Profit for 1956 was only $69,703. President James Keelty hastened to tell us there would be no dividends, though, because the $225,000 will be plowed back into ball club to improve its position in the W and L column next year. Then we elected directors. Routine matter—five places to be filled, five names on ballot. Voted for all five.
"Then small stockholders had a chance to speak up. One man wanted to know why Orioles televise only Sunday games. Another man complained there were not enough double-headers last year; also thought something ought to be done about ineffective bunting. 'Maybe,' he suggested, ' Paul Richards could give them some extra practice.' Chairman nodded non-committally.
"Father Ralph Kutz of St. Louis, a long-suffering priest whose ownership of stock dates back to time of Browns, offered motion congratulating club's officers on improvement of team; sixth a year ago, fifth this year. Motion was carried unanimously. Someone wanted to know whether Baltimore fans would have priority for tickets to All-Star Game, to be played in Baltimore next year. President Keelty thought not, unless fans were season ticket holders. 'Discrimination,' said Mrs. Schaub to Father Kutz. Then the meeting was adjourned.
"A few of us hung around to talk baseball—the playing, not the business side of it, since it was obvious we couldn't really have much more influence in the affairs of the Orioles than any vocal bleacherite. Seventy-three percent of stock is owned by holding company, which in turn is controlled by nine large stockholders who don't have to worry about stockholders' meetings.
"Trip, with train, cab and meals, cost me $31.65, but broker tells me stock is still worth the $11 I paid for it a year ago."