As a manager, Mr. Schaefer was also known for his legendary temper. Ms. LeBow-Sachs recalled that the mayor once ordered his housing director and top aides to meet him at a project that was not progressing to his satisfaction.

When Mr. Schaefer got out of the car, he went "ballistic" — chewing out the unfortunate underlings in the most colorful terms.

"He got back in the car and said, 'That was good, wasn't it?' " Ms. LeBow-Sachs said.

During his last term as mayor, Mr. Schaefer absorbed one of the most disappointing reversals of his political career because of a man whose name would become infamous in Baltimore.

Mr. Irsay, the hard-drinking and mercurial owner of the Baltimore Colts, had been a thorn in Mr. Schaefer's side since his first mayoral term. For more than a decade, Mr. Irsay would periodically shop the NFL team around the country — threatening to move if the city or state didn't spend millions on improvements to Memorial Stadium and other perks.

By 1984, Mr. Schaefer thought he was close to a deal with Mr. Irsay. But that March, enticed by the offer of an $80 million domed stadium in Indianapolis, Mr. Irsay had the team's records and trophies loaded onto Mayflower vans at its training facility in Owings Mills. Overnight, the Colts left Maryland — creating a void Mr. Schaefer would work to fill for the next decade.

"He was a double-crosser. He lied," Mr. Schaefer would say of Mr. Irsay.

Though Mr. Schaefer could be fierce in his hatreds, he could also be forgiving to old adversaries.

Mr. Wasserman recalled that when former City Council President Walter Orlinsky, Mr. Schaefer's longtime nemesis, got out of prison with his life in shambles after a bribery conviction, Mr. Schaefer gave him a job running a tree-planting program.

"Wally did a tremendous job and was forever grateful," Mr. Wasserman said.

On to Annapolis

Mr. Schaefer's last mayoral term would be hobbled as the flow of federal money that watered his pet projects slowed to a trickle under President Ronald Reagan. With strong black support, the mayor easily turned back a challenge by William "Billy" Murphy Jr., an African-American candidate, in 1983.

As his statewide popularity soared, close friends such as Judge Silver and Mr. Kovens urged him to turn his eyes to Annapolis, where Gov. Harry R. Hughes was nearing the end of his second term. Without Mr. Schaefer in the race, the prohibitive favorite in 1986 was Attorney General Stephen H. Sachs, a reformist Democrat candidate who opposed the traditional machine politics of which Mr. Kovens was a symbol.

After months of pressure, Mr. Schaefer agreed to give up the job he loved to run for the State House. Mr. Sachs fought an aggressive campaign, but his candidacy was doomed from the day the mayor announced.

Mr. Schaefer won the primary by a comfortable margin and crushed the token Republican candidate in November, winning an eye-popping 82 percent of the vote.

The Sun summarized his service in a farewell editorial:

"Baltimore will likely not soon see another mayor impose his personality as forcefully on the city. Mr. Schaefer sometimes governed by tantrum, but he governed. Baltimore is not cured of its ills, but it is better for his years in power."

A tougher venue

Mr. Schaefer arrived in Annapolis with the same sense of urgency that he exuded in City Hall.

"I'm not going to be a hands-off governor," Mr. Schaefer told freshman legislators a month after his election. "I'm going to come after you."