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Jim Mitchener, a member of the Stampeders’ undefeated 1948 team, passed away on Jan. 31 at the age of 87.
Mitchener, a Donavon, Sask., native, turned in a key play in the Stamps’ 12-7 win over the Ottawa Rough Riders in the 1948 Grey Cup. After a Rough Riders turnover in the fourth quarter, Mitchener took a lateral from Woody Strode and carried the ball to the Ottawa 10-yard line. On the next play, Pete Thodos scored the game-winning touchdown for the Red and White.
Mitchener played 10 regular-season games for the Stamps in 1948, his only season as a pro. One of his motivations for playing football was to earn enough money to pay his way through medical school. He indeed earned his doctorate from McGill University and became a pathologist, later teaching the subject at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta.
With Mitchener’s death, Norm Hill and Cedric Gyles are believed to be the last surviving members of the 1948 squad that posted a perfect 12-0 regular-season record before winning the Grey Cup. It’s still the only unbeaten team in Canadian professional football history.