Baltimore is a city that loves its sports teams and has had its share of passionate fans to go along with the championships they brought home. The story lines are neverending. The Orioles have been a consistent fixture, while the Colts left town. We tried to fill the void with the CFL and later acquired the Ravens from Cleveland, but respectfully left the name behind. The Bullets moved down the road to Washington and became the Wizards.
No matter what team came and went, we’ve prevailed as fans. We’ve found passion for our franchises and we cheer like we always have. Baltimore is a sports town and these Super Fans exemplify this city’s feelings toward its teams:
“CAPTAIN DEE-FENSE” WES HENSON
A retired Navy veteran, Wes Henson is used to wearing a uniform. He gets geared up for every Ravens game in his purple navy-inspired outfit. The persona was all started when Wes was asked by a little girl if he was the “Captain of the Defense.” He wears his Captain Dee-Fense uniform with the same enthusiasm that he wore his military uniform. He is a firm believer that defense wins championships and Baltimore takes pride in being one of the best every year. He was inducted into the Visa Hall of Fans in 2002 and later honored in the NFL Hall of Fame’s Hall of Fans wing.
MATT “FANMAN” ANDREWS
He was born and raised on the Baltimore Colts but we all know what happened there. Like many fans, he felt “lost in the desert” when they packed up and left town. After 12 years of no football in Baltimore he had plenty of pent up energy to dedicate to the new team. He started with a Fan Van to get to the game. Since then it’s transformed into a bus with a purple camo interior and over more than signatures of Ravens players and coaches (as well as some Colts in honor of his uncle “Willie the Rooter” who inspired his fandom). His enthusiasm and dedication for his team was recognized by VISA, the NFL Hall of Fame and the Ravens as the Ultimate Raven Fan for 2000.
THE CHAIN GANG
“MOVE THOSE CHAINS! MOVE THOSE CHAINS! MOVE THOSE CHAINS! Whoohhh!”
If you’ve ever been to a Ravens game then you know the chant. They play the sound effects over the loudspeaker and every fan chants along. It goes back to the Ravens early days at Memorial Stadium. At PSINet Stadium – now M&T Bank Stadium – in the front row of section 146, down in the endzone corner, Gil Sadler, his twin brother Jerry Sadler and Scott Schmidt would lead the fans after every 1st down, wearing high-vis orange hard hats and gloves. Gil was the first Ravens fan to be inducted into the Hall of Fans in 1999.
HURST C. “LOUDY” LOUDENSLAGER
How many fans can say they haven’t missed a game in almost 40 years? Well, one fan was so dedicated he can say that — well all but 1 and that was because of a heart attack. “Let’s Go You Colts” he would yell. He flew a flag embossed with “GO-GO-COLTS” and reverently lowered it to half-mast any time his team lost. He was the president of the Council of Colt Corrals. He sent birthday cards every year to all the players and coaches. He even baked them birthday cakes. He lived and breathed Colts. He even died Colts while planning a Colt Corrals’ convention in Ocean City, Md.
“THE BIG WHEEL” LEONARD BURRIER
The Baltimore Colts had a few super fans but one that stood out was “The Big Wheel”. He stood out, not just because he was almost 6’6″ tall but because of his team and city spirit. He would lead the chant “C-O-L-T-S” and the stadium would join in. When the Colts left town, he wouldn’t let go of football or his city of Baltimore. When the CFL came to town, he and his friends nicknamed it the “Colts For Life.” That didn’t stop him from being a Baltimore Stallions fan either. He embraced the team and cheered with the same enthusiasm as he did for the Colts.
“WILD BILL” HAGY
The video pretty much says it all. This Dundalk native cab driver and his section 34 “Rowdies” led the O-R-I-O-L-E-S chants and inspired many Orioles fans today. They famously cheered on the 1983 World Champs and the Orioles still recognize “Wild Bill” as one of, if not THE, greatest Orioles fan of all-time. His likeness is even on the back of the Orioles Heritage T-Shirt that was given away earlier this season. “The Roar from 34” at Memorial Stadium won’t soon be forgotten.