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CFL Hall of Famer Jackie Parker is my favourite football player of all time. He opted to play in Canada after graduating from Mississippi State University in the spring of 1954:
Wikipedia wrote:Once his college playing days were over Parker was drafted by both the New York Giants of the NFL and the Edmonton Eskimos of the Western Interprovincial Football Union. Despite being offered more money by the Giants Parker chose to sign with the Eskimos in part because his former quarterbacks coach at Mississippi State, Darrel Royal,had become the Eskimos' head coach. Royal never actually coached Parker in Canada as he returned to Mississippi State as the head coach for the 1954 season. At the end of his first season Giants owner Wellinton Mara personally came calling with a contract worth almost twice what Parker was making with the Eskimos but Parker chose to not to go to New York in part because (his wife) Peggy said she liked Edmonton better.
Jackie Parker played for the Eskimos from 1954 to 1962 and the Toronto Argonauts from 1963 to 1965. He joined the British Columbia Lions as an assistant coach/general manager in 1966 and even suited up as QB on a fill-in basis for the Lions in 1968. Like many other star players from that era, Parker played both on offence and defence and also served as the Eskimos' placekicker and punter through much of his tenure with the Eskimos.

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Parker made the Western Conference's all-star team as a running back in 1954, 1957 and 1959 and as a quarterback in 1955, 1956, 1958, 1960 and 1961. He won the Jeff Nicklin Memorial Trophy as the Western Conference's most outstanding player in 1954, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960 and 1961 and won three Schenley Awards as the CFL's most outstanding player in 1957, 1958 and 1960.

He played in the 1954, 1955, 1956 and 1960 Grey Cup Games with the Eskimos beating the Montreal Alouettes in the first three before losing to the Ottawa Rough Riders in the last.

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He took over as head coach of the British Columbia Lions during the 1969 season and held the position through 1970. He was the head coach of the Edmonton Eskimos from 1983 until partway into the 1987 season when he resigned for health reasons.

As a head coach Jackie Parker wasn't prone to giving long motivational speeches. Shortly after taking over the coaching reins with the Eskimos he is remembered to have said "We've got Calgary this week, men. Last time we lost to Calgary and the coach got fired." Then he looked up and said "Don't want that to happen again."

Nor did he think it was necessary to be a harsh disciplinarian. When he caught kick returner extraordinaire Henry "Gizmo" Williams sneaking into the team hotel after a whole night of carousing at about 7:00 AM the morning of a game, Parker merely called Gizmo over and told him to be ready for the game later that day.

Ray Willsey who became an assistant coach in the NFL with the Oakland Raiders among other teams frequently opined "I've seen some pretty good ball players. I've watched Jimmy Brown, Gale Sayers, O.J. Simpson, Y.A. Tittle, Otto Graham and Joe Namath. And without reservation, I'm telling you that Jackie Parker was the best football player I've ever seen. That's one hell of a strong statement. But if my career depended on one play and I had the choice of any player I'd ever watched, I'd have a better chance if I gave the ball to Jackie Parker than anyone. He'd find a way.''

Dan Kelly, the late great St. Louis-based hockey broadcaster, once told an Edmonton audience of a discussion involving the St. Louis Cardinals coaching staff. "When the Cardinals were flying high in the early '70s, six of their coaches were playing cards and drinking beer one night and they started arguing about who they'd like to have on their side if it was fourth down at the five yard line and they had to get the ball into the end zone. One said Jim Brown. Another agreed. A third said Joe Namath. The other three said Jackie Parker. One of the coaches picking Parker was Don Coryell, the man who would become famous as head coach of Air Coryell - the San Diego Chargers. Another was Jim Champion, who had been head coach of the B.C. Lions. And the other was Ray Willsey.''

Jackie Parker was known for his love of gambling and partying as well as for his exploits on the field. Said teammate and eventual Alberta premier Don Getty about the Eskimos' games "Rollie Miles thought of it as a career. Johnny Bright thought of it as a war. Normie Kwong thought of it as a way to promote his laundry business. Jackie Parker thought of it as something to get out of the way so he could get on with his evening.''

Parker was elected to the CFL Hall of Fame in 1971 and died of throat cancer at the age of 74 on 7 November 2006.

I very clearly remember Jackie Parker being voted the CFL's best player of the half century by some august organization in the late 1980's. So can Jackie Parker still be considered the greatest football player of all-time even today?

In any event, here's a TSN CFL Fantasy League for Jackie Parker fans:

Ol' Spaghetti Legs

Join now!

:popcorn:
Last edited by Foxhound on Mon Aug 19, 2019 6:41 am, edited 1 time in total.


Radically Canadian!
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Legendary Winnipeg Blue Bomber coach Bud Grant's name was added to those of QB Ken Ploen, OL Chris Walby, FB Gerry James, WR Milt Stegall, QB Dieter Brock and HB Leo Lewis.on the Blue Bombers' Ring of Honour at halftime of a game against the Edmonton Eskimos that took place in late September 2016:

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Here are some excerpts from Bud's simply phenomenal career:

1. He had poliomyelitis as a kid. He accordingly took up sports to help strengthen his leg muscles!

2. He lettered in three sports at the University of Minnesota - football, basketball and baseball! Twice he was All Big-Ten in football.

3. He was drafted in the first round by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1950. But he was also drafted in the fourth round by the Minneapolis Lakers! He chose basketball and played 35 games for the Lakers in the latter part of the 1949-50 season. He stayed with the Lakers for one more season in 1950-51.

4. He then realized he would never achieve much in the NBA. He elected to switch to football and joined the Philadelphia Eagles for the 1951 season. He played defensive end that season leading the Eagles in sacks.

5. He switched to wide receiver for the 1952 season and was second in the NFL in receiving yards with 997! He then thought he merited a healthy salary increase. The Eagles disagreed and told Grant to take it or leave it. He opted to leave it, and instead signed with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for more money.

6. He played both defensive back and offensive end for the Blue Bombers for the next four seasons. He led the Western Interprovincial Football Union in receiving yardage in 1953 and 1956, pass receptions in 1953, 1954 and 1956, and was named a W.I.F.U. all-star in 1953, 1954 and 1956.

7. He still holds the CFL record for most interceptions in a playoff game with five!

8. In 1957 he was named the head coach of the Blue Bombers at the age of 29! When later asked how long it took his former teammates to realize that he was now the boss, he replied "About five minutes."

9. He coached the Blue Bombers to a Grey Cup berth that very first year in 1957 and then again in 1958, 1959, 1961, 1962 and 1965 with the Blue Bombers emerging triumphant in 1958, 1959, 1961 and 1962. Ironically all six of those Blue Bomber Grey Cup games were against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

10. The tradition of Blue Bomber linemen playing games in sub-zero November temperatures with bare arms against their similarly bare armed rivals with the Edmonton Eskimos may have originated during Bud Grant's tenure in the fifties. Simple intimidation "What, you call this cold? I guess you're just not rugged enough to play up here in Canada." Those were the days when the Western final was a best of three game affair played over the course of eight days. Football players were tough in those days.

11. He was offered the job of head coach of the Minnesota Vikings in 1961. He turned it down at the time, but relented and accepted the position in 1967.

12. He then engineered a rare trade between teams in the separate leagues when he acquired QB Joe Kapp from the British Columbia Lions in exchange for Canadian WR Jim Young. Young would go on to earn the appellate "Dirty Thirty" with the Lions and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame after retirement.

13. He wouldn't allow heaters along the Viking sidelines during games. He wanted his players to stay focused on winning the game and not warming up by the heaters. When you saw the Vikings standing like ice giants along the sideline in their purple cloaks while the other team huddled miserably by their heaters, it was pretty obvious which team would win the game!

14. When many players took to celebrating TDs with outlandish antics in the end zone in the late seventies, Viking players did not. When a reporter asked Bud whether there was a team rule prohibiting such celebrations, his reply was "No, there's no such rule. They just better not."

15. Bud Grant didn't like to see players fidgeting during the national anthem. He thought that standing respectfully at attention would earn not just the respect of the fans but also of the players on the other team. He accordingly had giant defensive end and former National Guardsmen Carl Eller lead his Viking teammates in national anthem practices.

16. The player Bud Grant considered to be the best he ever coached in either league was Leo Lewis who played halfback for the Blue Bombers between the years 1955 and 1966. Leo had rushed for 8861 yards with a remarkable average of 6.6 yards per carry. You can therefore imagine Bud's astonishment in 1981 when he was told that a fellow named Leo Lewis had walked into the Vikings' training camp asking for a tryout. The applicant was the son of the Leo Lewis that Bud had coached in Winnipeg. Leo Lewis III not only made the roster that year but played for the Vikings as a wide receiver and punt returner until 1991.

17. Bud Grant had a fear of flying. His Blue Bombers (and of course Vikings) always flew to their games though. "The players sleep more restfully in a hotel than they do on a train. I don't matter." was his explanation. 'Nuff said.

18. A statue of Bud Grant was unveiled outside Winnipeg's Investors Group Field in October 2014.

Here are some scans of CFL cards from my collection featuring Bud Grant:

1954 Blue Ribbon

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1963 CFL Coins

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1964 Nalley's CFL Coins

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:mac:
Last edited by Foxhound on Thu Jul 04, 2019 11:54 am, edited 1 time in total.


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Figaro
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Foxhound,

Thanks so much for these amazing summaries of some of the best people associated with the CFL. Truly an enjoyable read.


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Nalley's Football Coins and the chips were tasty. Much more flavour than today's


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Beloved Canadian sports legend Normie Kwong passed away in his sleep on 3 September 2016 at the age of 86.

Normie was born on 24 October 1929 in Calgary, Alberta where he attended Western Canada High School and starred on the gridiron. After graduating from high school, he signed to play with the Calgary Stampeders thus becoming the first Chinese-Canadian to play professional football.

Playing fullback, he helped the Stampeders to win the Grey Cup in his rookie season. (Incidentally Stampeder fans introduced modern day hoopla into the Grey Cup in 1948 when they rode their horses through the lobby of the staid old Royal York Hotel in prim and proper Toronto. This was a seminal event in making the Grey Cup weekend a national festival and thus a part of Canada's cultural heritage.)

He was traded by the Stampeders to the Edmonton Eskimos prior to the 1951 season. He led the Western Interprovincial Football Union in rushing in 1951, 1955 and 1956 setting a CFL record which stood until 2012 for the most yards rushing by a Canadian in a season with 1,437 in 1956. He won the Schenley Award for Most Outstanding Canadian in 1955 and 1956. He helped the Eskimos win three Grey Cups in a row from 1954 to 1956. Here he is with fellow CFL legends Johnny Bright and Jackie "Spaghetti Legs" Parker after their 1956 Grey Cup triumph:

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He retired following the 1960 season.

Sadly statistics weren't kept by the WIFU in his first two years but Normie rushed for an average of 5.2 yards per carry between 1950 and 1960 and compiled a total of 9,022 yards rushing which puts him in eighth place on the all-time CFL rushing yardage list. He also scored 93 recorded touchdowns putting him tied for ninth on the all-time list.

His rushing exploits earned him the "China Clipper" nickname and he was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1969.

As a Stampeder and as an Eskimo:

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Early on with the Eskimos:

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My Weekend Magazine page:

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In a practice jersey (or miscoloured) from the 1959 Topps CFL set, the very first bubble gum cards I bought and collected as a kid:

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He was named Canadian Athlete of the Year in 1955 and inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 1975.

But his achievements after his playing career ended were perhaps even more impressive. He was part of a group of six Calgary businessmen who bought the Atlanta Flames and moved the team to Calgary. When the Calgary Flames won the Stanley Cup in 1989, Normie Kwong joined Carl Voss and Lionel Conacher (Canada's Athlete of the 1900-50 half century) as the only individuals to have their names inscribed on both the Grey Cup and the Stanley Cup.

He also served as president and general manager of the Calgary Stampeders from 1988 to 1991 where he laid the foundation for the team being a perennial contender ever since.

Outside of his business activities he also served as Chairman for the Calgary Easter Seals Campaign and functioned as the National Chairman of the Canadian Council on Multiculturalism in 1979-80.

In 1998 Normie received the Order of Canada. He was then appointed Lieutenant-Governor of the Province of Alberta on 20 January 2005 serving until 11 May 2010. With his legendary status in both Calgary and Edmonton, Normie was probably the best loved Lieutenant-Governor that Alberta ever had.

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Here's A TSN CFL Fantasy League I've created in Normie Kwong's honour:

China Clippers

New members/participants are always welcome!

:mac:


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Figaro wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 11:34 am
Foxhound,

Thanks so much for these amazing summaries of some of the best people associated with the CFL. Truly an enjoyable read.
You're welcome!

:wave:


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CFL legend Hal Patterson passed away on 21 November 2011 at the age of 79.

Prior to arriving in the CFL, Hal played football, baseball and basketball at the University of Kansas. He was the leading rebounder on the 1953 Kansas basketball team that lost the NCAA championship final to Indiana by one point. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles but chose to sign with the Montreal Alouettes where he teamed with QB Sam "The Rifle" Etcheverry.

The two were dynamite together. In 1956 Hal set the record for receiving yards in one game with 338. This record has yet to be broken. In another game that same year, Hal caught a 109 yard touchdown pass. The 1914 receiving yard record he set that season in fourteen games would not be broken until Terry Greer of the Argonauts caught passes for 2003 yards in 1983 in a sixteen game season. Hal had ten 100-yard receiving games in 1956, a record that was not broken until Jamel Richardson of the Alouettes set a new mark with eleven in an eighteen game season in 2010.

Hal went to Grey Cup games in 1954, 1955 and 1956 with the Als but they lost them all to the Eskimos. Hal was traded to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 1961 and made it to the 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965 and 1967 Grey Cup games emerging victorious in 1963, 1965 and 1967.

He did of course play both ways and was an excellent defensive back as well. Hal was voted the thirteenth best CFL player of all time in 2006.

This first picture appeared as part of one of the three series of CFL players that Weekend Magazine published in 1957, 1958 and 1959:

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Here as well are front and back scans of my 1959 Topps CFL card of Hal Patterson:

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Great pose of a great player!

:rockin:


Radically Canadian!
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TheLionKing wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 4:50 pm
Nalley's Football Coins and the chips were tasty. Much more flavour than today's.
Did you collect the 1963 and 1964 CFL coins at the time? Do you remember how the Nalley's chip bag looked at the time? Did the bag feature a picture of a squirrel?

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Do you still collect the CFL coins today?

:juggle:


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Collected some coins but not the entire sets. The Nalley chip bags did not contained the squirrel.


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All-time great Blue Bomber running back Jim "Jay" Washington passed away on 24 June 2018 at the age of 66.

Jay joined the Blue Bombers in 1974. He was a CFL All-Star and won the Eddie James Memorial Trophy in 1976 and again in 1977 when he rushed for 1277 and 1262 yards respectively. He was for a time the fastest runner in the CFL.

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When he retired after the 1979 season with 6127 yards on the ground, his total rushing yardage was second on the all-time Blue Bomber list behind only that of the legendary Leo Lewis.

Very sad. Jay was among the very best RBs in the CFL in the late seventies.

:sigh:


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All-time great Toronto Argonaut running back and defensive back Ulysses "Crazy Legs" Curtis very sadly passed away on 6 October 2012 at the age of 87. He played 57 regular season games from 1950 to 1954 with the Argonauts emerging with Grey Cup victories over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Edmonton Eskimos respectively in 1950 and 1952. After Ulysses retired the Argos wouldn't win another Grey Cup until 1983!

Ulysses was among the very best natural runners of his era. During those five regular seasons, Ulysses rushed for 3712 yards on 529 attempts which averaged out to over seven yards per carry. His best year carrying the ball was 1952 when he gained 994 yards on 127 carries for a 7.8 yard average and scored sixteen touchdowns during a regular season schedule of only twelve games! During that same season he set an Argonaut single game rushing record of 208 yards against the Montreal Alouettes, a record no Argo surpassed until Gil Fenerty recorded 215 yards in a game in 1988. (That one I attended!) Ulysses was named an all-time Argo by the team in 2005.
It was as a defensive back though that Ulysses was directly involved in one of the most infamous CFL plays of all-time. He'd picked off a pass in a 1951 playoff game against the Ottawa Rough Riders and was heading down the sidelines toward the end zone when Rough Rider Pete Karpuk came off the bench and tackled him!

Incredible as it may seem today, you can see that they still played without face masks in the early fifties:

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After hanging up his cleats he worked as a schoolteacher in North York for thirty years, which I imagine had to be more daunting than any linebacker he'd faced in his illustrious career.

May a great Canadian sporting icon R.I.P.


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Just wanted to add to the discussion that BC 1988 and Gridiron Ernie created in the "Mike Reilly" thread about our 1954 inaugral uniforms.

Unlike the Vancouver Canucks (1970) who skated onto the ice on October 9, 1970 in gorgeous pacific blue and kelly green uniforms with the skate-in-rink logo, the Lions in '54 did not look as good. They wore orange jerseys, pants, and helmets! Note, the '54 orange uniforms appeared to be a much lighter orange than the "burnt orange" unis that would become the club's signature colour pantone in the 1960's.

This image shows the various uniforms throughout the years (notice how close to the '64 Lions the current roads look).

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DH :cool:


Please sell the team, Mr. Braley.
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Gridiron Ernie
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Yeah, David, I'd noticed that too -- that diluted paler orange colour for '54 -- perhaps the questionable inspiration for last year's "creamsicle" away unis. Thankfully our aways this year are a pretty sight indeed. About time. The only way they could look better is if they were winning in them!


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BC 1988
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Count me in as a fan of the current road look--it does pay homage to the Joe Kapp era too. (Too bad most this season will associate it with futility).

I see the "No Mountain Too High" graphic (available framed on Amazon) is pretty condensed--they forgot the '80s reversed lion which I like.


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David
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BC 1988 wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 7:26 pm
I see the "No Mountain Too High" graphic (available framed on Amazon) is pretty condensed--they forgot the '80s reversed lion which I like.
I am actually partial to the middle uniform with the 7 burnt orange stripes on the sleeves and the burnt orange and white neck trim. However, they only wore those for two seasons (1970 and 1971 - note: the mistake on the print, which reads "1974").

I am actually surprised they didn't feature the 1978 uniform instead. This is when the club switched colours to burnt orange and brown (and the new logo, which is primarily the one they still feature today). They achieved a lot of success in those uniforms (including the 1985 Grey Cup).


DH :cool:


Please sell the team, Mr. Braley.
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