Schaefer Influential in Ravens History

As requested in his will, The Marching Ravens played at Gov. Schaefer’s tribute.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Monday, April 25th, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Categories: Ryan Mink

Former governor, Baltimore mayor and comptroller William Donald Schaefer was played off by The Marching Ravens.

As outlined in Schaefer’s will, The Marching Ravens played the Baltimore Football Fight Song, set to the tune of the old Baltimore Colts fight song, when Schaefer’s casket arrived at Baltimore’s City Hall Monday.

It was a fitting tribute to the Maryland political icon who was hugely influential in bringing the Ravens to Baltimore.

“He’s the reason the Ravens are here,” Minority Owner Art Modell told The Baltimore Sun. “He laid the foundation first as Baltimore’s mayor and as governor of Maryland when he championed the funding of a new stadium. In fact, champion is the right word. Gov. Schaefer was a champion for Baltimore, for Maryland and for the common man.”

Schaefer led the push for the construction of the Camden Yards Sports Complex, which houses both M&T Bank Stadium and Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The new stadiums were instrumental in allowing Modell to relocate the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore in 1996.

The colorful Schaefer also had a soft spot for the former Baltimore Colts marching band, which stayed intact for 12 years despite the lack of a home football team to play for.

“William Donald Schaefer loved this band,” said Band President John Ziemann. “We stood by him and fought alongside him when we didn’t have a team. We were dear friends for 45 years and he was thrilled that the band stayed together, never disbanded. He was just so proud.”

The pep band also played up-beat songs for a half-hour before the funeral procession arrived in Baltimore. There was a trumpet solo by Leroy Bamberger before the fight song.

“No funeral dirges,” Ziemann said, reciting Schaefer’s request.

The Sports Legends Museum will have a special display saluting Schaefer with memorabilia pertaining to his involvement with professional sports in Baltimore, such as the actual pen he used to sign the legislation to build the Camden Yards Sports Complex. Schaefer gave the pen to Ziemann that day.

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