Toiling on unkempt diamonds at less-than-glamorous venues in remote towns for 20 long years, Robert Latshaw never played a single inning in the big leagues. So while Latshaw never realized fame and glory inherent to experience in “the show,” this 1944 Baltimore Orioles International League championship ring was as close as he would come. The 14-karat gold size 10-1/2” accessory features a baseball-themed facing on which “1944 CHAMPIONS” is surrounded by “BALTIMORE ORIOLES” and “INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE.” More on our website.
A glorious survivor, this ring presents beautifully as the smooth gold surface retains every bit of its luster. Within the band, “Robert Latshaw” and “Joseph B. Koenig” are engraved in cursive. The latter name, we believe, was that of a club executive (a Joseph Koenig did play in four games for the 1933 Orioles). As for Latshaw, his dedication to the game was as inspiring as any career-long effort one could readily cite. From his 1935 debut with the Pine Bluff Judges of the East Dixie League to his 1954 swan song with the Madisonville Miners of the Kentucky-Illinois-Tennessee League, Latshaw played in 1,746 games, posting a .288 career batting average with 144 lifetime round-trippers. In between the aforementioned stops, he played for minor league clubs in Crookston, Indianapolis, Tulsa, Toronto, Milwaukee, Wilkes-Barre, Louisville, Utica, Los Angeles, Montgomery, Richmond, Wilson, Danville, Galax, Lynchburg, Granby, Augusta and Superior, never losing sight of his dream (which never came to fruition) along the way. In 1945, the lanky first baseman also played in the American Basketball League with the Baltimore Bullets.
Returning to International League prominence the franchise had known throughout the 1920s, the 1944 Orioles went 84-68 to win their first-ever Governors’ Cup (an award instituted in 1933) and proceeded to win the Junior World Series over the Newark Bears. Simply put, this ring is a rare (perhaps the only) survivor from an era during which love for the game transcended all other endeavors and, more often than not, became a lifetime vocation.