Six Degrees of Separation: ‘Welcome Back Kotter’ and Colts


Robert Hegyes, AKA Juan Epstein of classically cheesy sitcom “Welcome Back Kotter” died this morning of a heart attack.  I loved the Kotter crew as a kid, and I love the Indianapolis Colts as an adult, so this news naturally saddened me and made me wonder of there is a connection between the show and our beloved Naptown Horseshoes.   Turns out there is:

  • “Welcome Back Kotter” was set in Brooklyn.
  • The Dodgers made their fame and fortune in Brooklyn.
  • Mark Belanger played for the Los Angeles Dodgers the last year of his Major League Baseball career, 1982.
  • Belanger made HIS name and fortune playing with the Baltimore Orioles for 17 years prior to his LA trek.
  • Baltimore was home to the Colts until 1984.
  • In March of 1984, Colts owner Jim Irsay packed up the Mayflower vans and followed the Dodgers west, young man.  Rumor has it that the trucks broke down just outside of Richmond, and Indy was as far as Irsay could push them.