Beautifully engraved Certificate from the Cleveland Indians Baseball Company, Inc
in 1998. This historic document was printed by the Banknote Corporation of America and has an
ornate border around it with a vignette of the company's name and an underprint of Jacobs Field. This item has the printed signatures of the company's officers including Richard Jacobs as Chairman of the Board and CEO. Cancelled. Two folds from original mailing.
Professional baseball was first played in Cleveland in 1869. In 1901 the Cleveland Spiders ball club became a charter member of the American League of Professional Baseball Clubs. Cy Young played for Cleveland early in the 20th century. The Indians (the team took that name in 1915 after trying out the Blues, Naps, and Molly McGuires) beat the Brooklyn Dodgers to win the 1920 World Series, topped the Boston Braves to take another World Series in 1948, and claimed the American League pennant in 1954. A major slump followed, with player performance, fan attendance, and club finances suffering through most of the next three decades. The 1960s and 1970s brought multiple ownership changes, as well as rumors that the struggling team would move to Seattle or New Orleans, among other cities.
Real estate tycoon Richard Jacobs and his brother David paid $35 million for the Indians in 1986. By aggressively recruiting coaches, talented young players, and management, Jacobs steered the organization back to the top ranks of baseball. Instead of spending money on skyrocketing player salaries, he invested in the team's farm system which nurtured young players. Jacobs also made fan loyalty a priority by focusing marketing efforts on introducing fans to up-and-coming players and was instrumental in the development of Cleveland's downtown Gateway Sports and Entertainment Complex, which includes (the modestly named) Jacobs Field and Gund Arena, home of the Cleveland Cavaliers pro basketball franchise.
Jacobs Field was opened in 1994. The team won the American League Central Division each year between 1995 and 1998, and made it to the World Series in 1995 and 1997 (losing to the Atlanta Braves and the Florida Marlins, respectively). In 1998 the company raised $60 million in an IPO (but the team lost the pennant race that year to the New York Yankees). The following year Jacobs struck while the iron was hot, announcing his intention to sell the team (The Tribe clinched its fifth consecutive AL Central title that year).
In early 2000 Lawrence Dolan, an attorney from Ohio, set a Major League Baseball record by paying $323 million for the franchise, which became private once again. Consequently, stock certificates are no longer issued to the public, which makes this stock certificate extremely desirable and hard to find.