You choose: Who are the top five Winnipeg Blue Bombers players ever?
After much debate, former Blue Bombers standout defensive tackle Doug Brown and Bombers fanatic Greg Mackling have agreed on the top 15 players to ever suit up for the blue and gold.
Who do you think will be the top five Bombers of all time from this list of 15 players? We want to hear from you.
Below is a short bio on each player, including how long they played in Winnipeg and some of their noteworthy career accomplishments.
Click here to listen to the podcast to hear how Doug and Greg arrived at this list and then vote for your favourite player at the bottom of the page. When the poll closes, we’ll announce the top five.
Ken Ploen / Quarterback / #11 / 1957-1967
The Lost Nation, Iowa native spent 11 seasons with the Bombers, matching his number. While the Bomber organization doesn’t officially retire numbers, Ploen’s number 11 is one of six that the team does not allow players to wear. Ploen racked up 16,470 passing yards in his Bomber career, fourth all time in franchise history. His 119 touchdown passes ranks third all time. He won four Grey Cups with Winnipeg.
Milt Stegall / Slot Back / #85 / 1995-2008
In his 14 seasons wearing blue and gold, Milt Stegall scored 147 touchdowns — a CFL record. His 15,153 career receiving yards rank second all-time in league history. The nine-time CFL All-Star is a member of both the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Canadian Football Hall of Fame. Stegall spent his entire CFL career in Winnipeg, after a brief stint with the Cincinnati Bengals of the NFL.
Greg Battle / Linebacker / #34 / 1987-1993, 1997-1998
Greg Battle won two Grey Cups with the Blue Bombers (1988 and 1990). He was a CFL All-Star in 1990 and 1991 and was also the league’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player in those two years. Battle’s 766 career tackles ranks sixth all-time in CFL history. He was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2007.
Ralph (Dieter) Brock / Quarterback / #5 / 1974-1983
The Birmingham, Alabama native is the all-time leading passer in Blue Bombers history, putting up 29,623 yards in 10 seasons. He also holds career franchise records for passing touchdowns (187), pass completions (2,167), and pass attempts (3,777). Brock was a CFL All-Star and the league’s Most Outstanding Player in 1980 and 1981. He was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1995.
Bob Cameron / Punter / #6 / 1980-2002
Bob Cameron played in more games with the Blue Bombers than any other player in franchise history (394) over the course of 23 seasons. He played in 353 consecutive games, also a league record. His 134,301 career punting yards is first all time in CFL history. Cameron was a four-time CFL All-Star and won three Grey Cups during his time in Winnipeg.
Leo Lewis / Running Back / #29 / 1955-1966
Leo Lewis amassed 8,861 rushing yards during his tenure wearing blue and gold, good for second all-time, behind Charles Roberts. He also scored 75 touchdowns, which ranks third on the club’s list. He was the team’s Most Outstanding Player in five separate seasons and was a CFL All-Star in 1962. ‘The Lincoln Locomotive’ was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1973.
Chris Walby / Offensive Lineman / #63 / 1981-1996
The Winnipeg native spent 16 seasons on the Blue Bombers offensive line, and was a CFL All-Star in nine of those years. Walby was the league’s Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman in 1987 and 1993. The CFL Hall of Famer won three Grey Cups with the Blue Bombers.
Tyrone Jones / Linebacker / #35 / 1983-1987, 1989-1991
In his two stints in Winnipeg, Tyrone Jones registered 98 quarterback sacks, by far the most in franchise history. The four-time CFL All-Star was the MVP in the 1984 Grey Cup Game, won by the Blue Bombers. He won a second Grey Cup with the team in 1990. Jones was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2012.
Joe Poplawski / Slot Back / #71 / 1978-1986
“Joe Pop” was a five-time CFL All-Star during his years with the Blue Bombers. He was also a part of the 1984 Grey Cup winning team. Poplawski was the league’s Most Outstanding Rookie in 1978 and won the Most Outstanding Canadian award in 1981 and 1986. He was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1998.
Charles Roberts / Running Back / #1 / 2001-2008
The five-foot-six Roberts is the all-time leading rusher in Blue Bombers history with 9,987 yards over eight seasons. His 64 rushing touchdowns also ranks first in team history. Roberts was a CFL All-Star in every season with the blue and gold except for the 2009 campaign, when he was traded to the B.C. Lions. He was also the CFL’s Most Outstanding Special Teams player in his rookie season. ‘Blink’ ranks fifth in CFL history in all-time rushing yards (10,285).
READ MORE: “Blink” headed to Bombers Hall
James Murphy / Wide Receiver / #21 / 1983-1990
After a brief stint in the NFL, James Murphy helped the Blue Bombers win three Grey Cups in 1984, 1988, and 1990. The Utah State product was a CFL All-Star twice and the league’s Most Outstanding Player in 1986. He finished his career in blue and gold with 9,036 receiving yards, which stood as a team record until it was broken by Milt Stegall. His 116 receptions in the 1986 season remains a team record.
Gerry James / Running Back / #98 / 1952-1963
The Regina native ran for 57 touchdowns during his blue and gold tenure, which ranks second behind Charles Roberts. His 18 rushing touchdowns during the 1957 campaign is a team record. James was a member of four Grey-Cup winning teams in Winnipeg. He ranks fourth on the club’s all-time touchdown list. The Kelvin High School graduate was also the league’s Most Outstanding Canadian player in 1954 and 1957.
Jack Jacobs / Quarterback / #27 / 1950-1954
After six years in the NFL, Jack Jacobs was a divisional All-Star twice during his time with the Blue Bombers. He also won the West Division Most Outstanding Player Award in 1952. His 104 passing touchdowns ranks fourth all-time in Blue Bombers history. Jacobs was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1963.
Herb Gray / Defensive End, Offensive Guard / #53 / 1956-1965
Herb Gray was the CFL’s Most Outstanding Lineman in 1960, the first defensive player to win the award in league history. He was a CFL All-Star in 1962, and a seven-time divisional all-star. Gray was a part of four Grey Cup winning teams with the Blue Bombers in 1958, 1959, 1961 and 1962.
Fritz Hanson / Running Back / #40 / 1935-1941, 1945
The five-foot-seven North Dakota State product won three Grey Cups with the Blue Bombers, including the 1935 championship game where he put up 334 returning yards. The five-time divisional All-Star was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1963.
Tune in to the podcast next week to find out how your choice stacks up against Doug Brown and Greg Mackling’s picks.
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