It is hard to believe that the National Federation of the Blind has been headquartered for more than half its life in Baltimore. For some of us the Federation’s headquarters was at 2652 Shasta Road in Berkeley, California. For many the address 218 Randolph Hotel Building in Des Moines, Iowa, will be a familiar address. But being the home of the National Federation of the Blind’s headquarters for four decades brings with it publicity, awareness, and recognition.
In recognition of the fortieth anniversary of the National Federation of the Blind moving its national headquarters to Baltimore, on Tuesday, September 18, the Baltimore Orioles became the first team in American professional sports history to incorporate Braille lettering into their gameday uniforms. Wearing specially-designed jerseys with Braille lettering of both “Orioles” and player last names, they took the field to play the Toronto Blue Jays. Afterwards the jerseys were autographed, authenticated, and auctioned on the Oriole’s website to benefit the National Federation of the Blind.
It wasn’t just about special jerseys or the accessibility features at Oriole Park, either. On this historic night National Federation of the Blind President Mark Riccobono threw out the ceremonial first pitch of the game. The National Federation of the Blind YouTube channel has video of this with commentary by the park announcers, watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JW6fHfK0E5M. The first 15,000 fans in attendance received a co-branded NFB/Orioles Braille alphabet card, distributed by volunteers from the NFB. Additionally, members of the NFB were at the OriolesREACH Community Booth near Gate D during the game.