untung99.biz: Colts move from Baltimore to Indianapolis

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Hal Stein and his buddies were just college kids looking to make an extra buck. Their University of Maryland fraternity had a contract with Mayflower, the moving company. They got a call one night and were told to get on a bus. They had no idea where they were going.

They ended up in Baltimore and were given their task: Pack up the Baltimore Colts training camp. Their reward? $21 an hour, and plenty of pizza and beer.

“We had to basically pack up the entire training camp,” Stein said on the latest episode of Peyton’s Places, that will air on Sunday morning on ESPN. It was an all-nighter. I got to pack up a Lombardi Trophy. I personally packed it myself. It was crazy.”

They were left in the dark about what was happening until someone asked how many of them were Colts fans. About half of the 30 men were. 

“‘They said, ‘Well, we’re moving the Colts tonight,’” Stein recalled. 

More:Remembering how Colts’ move from Baltimore went down

“At the very end, some of the Mayflower folks said, ‘Whatever you can wear out of here, you can keep.’ By the time we left, we looked like the Michelin men, waddling around. It was surreal. We didn’t realize the impact of it until we got back the next morning and turned on the news.” 

Little did they know at the time that they were helping usher the Colts out of Baltimore and into Indianapolis.

A group of Colts fans convened at a bar in Baltimore to reminisce about the good old days, when the Baltimore Colts meant everything to them, and how it felt to have their hearts ripped out. And don’t even mention Peyton Manning.

“I can’t stand him or anybody else that plays for that team,” Paul Addicks says.

Well, would you look at that. There he is.

“I’m buying the beers here,” the NFL Hall of Fame quarterback said to the group.

Addicks was listening to the radio when he heard the news that the Colts had left town.

“I sat in a firehouse, turned the radio on and heard they were moving,” he said. “When people came to take our place in the morning, I had tears running down my face. They said, ‘What’s wrong? Somebody in your family, did something happen to them?’ I said, ‘Worse. The Colts just left town.’ It was the worst day of my life.”

The midnight move in March of 1984 came as a shock. But rumors had been bubbling for months. Bob Irsay, late father of current Colts owner Jim Irsay, had been looking at potential cities — namely Phoenix and Indianapolis — that could be the franchise’s new home. On March 27, Maryland’s State Legislature started the process to take control of the Colts through eminent domain, which allows the government to seize private property for public use.

At 10:30 that night, longtime Colts equipment manager Jon Scott got a phone call from Jim Irsay. 

“He said, ‘Johnny, I just talked to my dad. We’re moving,’” Scott told Manning. “I said, ‘Phoenix?’ And then there was a long pause. He said, ‘No. Indy. But listen, you can’t tell anybody, because the city of Baltimore is trying to take over the team.’” 

Trucks were loaded up, but not told where they were going — not until they got out of Maryland. All the trucks went in different directions so they wouldn’t easily be tracked. 

The next day, Indianapolis mayor Bill Hudnut broke the news: “Ladies and gentlemen, it’s my understanding that the Colts are on their way to Indianapolis,” he said.

A police escort met the Mayflower trucks and delivered them as heroes to Indianapolis.

While Bob Irsay addressed a throng of fans at the new Hoosier Dome, trucks unloaded for training camp — at an abandoned elementary school. 

“The shoulder pads are being stored here in the school cafeteria, which will soon be converted into the team locker room,” a reporter said on a newscast. “And what used to be the school kitchen will soon become the team’s showers.”

Scott says that in the end, everyone won. Baltimore has won two Super Bowls. The Colts forever changed the landscape of Indianapolis. But some, mainly those in Baltimore, don’t see it that way.

After being told stories of what it was like to see the Colts get ripped away, Manning asks Stein and his friends if they can tell him how to get to Indianapolis.

“You walk right out there off the dock,” Addicks said.

For the full story, watch Sunday morning’s episode of Peyton’s Places.