When looking for promising candidates for your stock portfolio, it's easy to just think about the prominent names of the day, such as Apple, Google, or ExxonMobil. But there are plenty of other possibilities, many of which have been under our noses for quite some time.

Permit me to introduce you to Ball Corp. (NYSE:BLL), for example. It used to be more of a household name than it is today, but it's worth knowing about, as you might want to add some Ball stock to your portfolio. Why? Well, check this out: Ball stock has appreciated by roughly 18% over the past year. It has gained, on average, about 13.5% annually over the past 25 years, enough to turn $10,000 into almost $240,000.

To help you get to know the Ball company and Ball stock, I offer a few more tidbits below. If you like what you see, dig into it more deeply and consider adding it to your holdings or your watchlist.

  • The basics: Founded in 1880, Ball has been around for more than 130 years. It was started by five brothers, who borrowed $200 from an uncle. Adjusting for inflation, that would be north of $4,600 today. 
  • The company first focused on making wood-covered tin cans to hold things such as paint and fuel, and was soon making tin containers and glass jars, many used for canning. Over the years, the company has been involved in more than 45 businesses.
  • Based in Broomfield, Colo., today, Ball is no longer in the canning-jar business, but is a global company specializing in metal packaging -- for the food, beverage, and household products industries, as well as even the aerospace industry. It has about 14,500 workers, in more than 90 locations globally.
  • In recent years, Ball became the largest supplier of aluminum slugs in the world and the largest supplier of beverage cans in the world, as well. In 2012, it raked in $8.7 billion, 74% of which came from global beverage cans.
  • A peek at some of the characteristics of Ball stock via the company's financial statements reveals some lumpiness, with revenue and earnings growing over the past decade or so, but dipping a bit recently. It has been the same with free cash flow and net margins.
  • The dividend yield of Ball stock may only be around 1.1%, but the company has been hiking that aggressively in recent years. The quarterly payout was $0.05 per share between 2004 and 2010, but after that it was soon $0.07, then $0.10, and early this year surged 30% to $0.13. Better still, its payout ratio is only about 21%, reflecting a lot of room for further growth.
  • The valuation of Ball stock seems a bit of a mixed bag. Its recent price-to-earnings ratio, near 18, is a bit on the steep side for a company that isn't growing by leaps and bounds, but its forward P/E is 11.2, below its five-year average as well as the S&P 500's average.
  • In recent news, Ball plans to close an Illinois food-can and aerosol-can plant this year, shifting some of that production to other plants. It will reduce overall production capacity, but make better use of its plants. It's also buying back some debt.

Ball stock is worth considering if you're looking for a solid long-term performer and dividend income (though the current yield remains on the small side). You might want to add it your watchlist and review it further.