"Our History"

Originally published: October, 2002 in "The Garfield  Heights Browns Backer's" newsletter.
Revised and updated for the Internet: November 8, 2002.
Last update: March 21, 2013
By: Joseph F. Hammer Sr.
President (1999–2006): Garfield Heights Browns Backers

The idea for the "Garfield Heights Browns Backers" was started back in December of 1998, with just three customers and one of the owners, sitting around a tavern on Broadway Ave.  The Browns were coming back to Cleveland the following year.  One member of the group wanted a get-together location for watching the Browns, and suggested having the tavern open on game days.  Another thought the idea may not be feasible, and suggested that we have revolving house parties each week, between certain individuals.  Yet another expanded on the thoughts, and made mention of forming an Official Browns Backers Club.  This idea was discussed further, and we began to pursue it heavily.  A Browns Fan club, although not official, was started at the location on March 1, 1999.  Six and a half months later, on September 13, 1999, we became an "Official Chapter" of the "Browns Backers Worldwide" organization.  Our official chapter number (199) seemed most appropriate.

Unfortunately, due to unavoidable delays during the year, many lost interest.  The club had only 15 members at its inception.  The following year we added only 6 more, bringing the total to 21.

Then in late February 2001, our meeting location was sold, and Backer activity slowed to less than a crawl.  In fact, there were no activities even planned during the 2001 football season.  Many of our members were no longer patronizing the establishment.  Meetings became few and far between.

In February 2002, a failed rebuilding attempt was made.  The club had been moved to a new location, however the response there, was non-existent.  I was reluctantly getting ready to assign the club an "Inactive" status.  Then, near the end of August 2002, a conversation with yet another tavern owner, led to another rebuilding attempt.  With another move to our meeting location, and three new officers (VP, Secretary & Treasurer) we once again started to rebuild.  It seemed apparent, that this move was the right one.

The location was officially named as the Home for the "Garfield Heights Browns Backers" on September 17, 2002.  The first officers' meeting (held prior to the official date) took place on Tuesday, September 3, 2002, with several others following.  As of November 8, 2002, we had 46 active adults, as well as 13 junior members.  Door prizes (for members) and 50/50 raffles (on game days) were started almost immediately.  Future activities were in the planning stages.  Even this web site and an online forum were being discussed.

The dedication and enthusiasm of the new officers and members, was phenomenal, and I personally thank them for it.

With their continued support, I felt that the Garfield Heights Browns Backers, could and would, become one of the best in the "Browns Backers Worldwide" organization.

By 2012, change was inevitable, and several members were requesting it.  The subject was announced to all members, which was then followed up with a membership vote.   Prior to the first kick-off of the season, the club was relocated to our current meeting location at: "Playmakers Sports Grille".


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