Over the past 75 years, the Stampeders have been blessed with some supremely talented players. In honour of our anniversary season, we have compiled a list of the Top-75 players who have donned the White Horse.
The list was created by a consensus ranking of players by long-time equipment manager George Hopkins, radio play-by-play voice Mark Stephen, Stampeders historian Daryl Slade, and Wall-of-Famer Stan Schwartz. Each member was asked to rank their Top-5 players of All-Time and then provide a list of the remaining 70. With differences among the lists, more than 100 players received acknowledgement during this process. Players were added to the list by number of votes. Forty-three players received four votes, 20 players had three votes, and 18 players had two votes, meaning that not all of the two-vote players were able to make the list. To fairly assign those final spots on the list, those two-vote players were ranked first by seasons played, followed by Grey Cups won, and finally by All-CFL team appearances.
Throughout the season, we will be unveiling the list 10 players at a time in no specific order, finishing with the Top-5 Stampeders players of All-Time. Stay tuned to see if your favourite players made the list!
Let’s begin our All-Time Top 75:
Herm Harrison, REC, 1964-1972
A linebacker converted to tight end, Harrison earned himself the nickname ‘Ham Hands’ for his large hands and even larger catches. Harrison would become a six-time West All-Star and a three-time CFL All-Star. Herm helped lead the Stampeders to the 1971 Grey Cup over the Toronto Argonauts, scoring the only touchdown in a 14-11 victory. For his remarkable pass catching and blocking abilities, Harrison was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1993 and had his number 76 retired by the Stampeders.
Jay McNeil, OL, 1994-2007
A Stampeders lifer, McNeil was drafted by the team in the fourth round (34th-overall) in 1994. The 6-foot-3 guard didn’t play much in his rookie season, but would become a starter shortly thereafter and was a stalwart on a talented Stampeders offensive line. McNeil helped the team reach four Grey Cups during his tenure and would secure two Grey Cup championships in 1998 and 2001. McNeil was fantastic throughout the 2000s, earning six West All-Star nods (2001, 2002, 2004-2007) alongside being a five-time CFL All-Star (2001, 2002, 2005-2007).
PeeWee Smith, REC, 1990-1995
Maybe most notably known for his incredible run into the tunnel after a 67-yard touchdown in the West Final against Edmonton in 1991, Smith had many notable highlights to speak of during his six-year run with the Stampeders. The six-foot-one pass catcher found the endzone 16 times throughout his career, while amassing 3,136 receiving yards on 207 receptions. Not only was he a weapon in the passing game, he was a menace in the return game as well. Smith tallied 4,909 kick return and punt return yards, with five going the distance to the endzone.
Basil Bark, OL, 1970-1977
Bark began his CFL career with the Montreal Alouettes, where he played two seasons as an outside linebacker before being moved to center. After a five-year stint with the Als, Bark was traded to Calgary in a blockbuster deal that would send Terry Evanshen the other way. Along with a pair of West All-Star nods in 1971 and 1973, Bark was also part of the Stampeders 1971 Grey Cup squad that took down the Toronto Argonauts for the team’s second ever championship.
Junior Thurman, DB, 1989-1994
Ulyses Thurman Jr. was a key cog in a stalwart Stamps defence during his time in the CFL. Thurman played in 95 career games with the Red and White, earning an All-CFL nod in both 1991 and 1992, capping off the ’92 season with a Grey Cup win. The defensive back snagged 15 interceptions and made 365 tackles during his seven-year career.
Reggie Lewis, DL, 1977-1981
An NFL draftee to the San Francisco 49ers, Lewis decided to head north instead and play in the CFL with the Stampeders. The defensive lineman spent four-and-a-half seasons in Calgary and was known as an elite pass rusher. Unfortunately for us modern day folks, we can’t measure his impact through the sacks stat as it wasn’t tracked until his final season in the CFL, where he recorded 7.5 split between Calgary and Toronto. Lewis was a three-time West Division All-Star and a three-time CFL All-Star in the same seasons.
Tony Pajaczkowski, OL, 1955-1965
One of the best offensive lineman of his time, Pajaczkowski was a five-time West All-Star for the Stampeders and was the team’s nominee for Outstanding Lineman in 1960. Pajaczkowski also won four CFL All-Stars at offensive guard in 1962, 1963, 1964 and 1965. Pajaczkowski was elected to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1988.
Bernie Morrison, LB, 1978-1988
A national linebacker, Morrison was a stalwart on the Stamps defence, playing 11 seasons with the team. Morrison won the Presidents’ Ring twice (1985 and 1987) and was named to the Stampeders’ 50-year Dream Team in 1995. He had 17 interceptions for 109 yards, 11 fumble returns and also had 316 defensive tackles in just four years of official record-keeping. Morrison led the team in total tackles three times (1986-88) and also had 13 sacks in his last five seasons.
Keith Spaith, QB, 1948-1954
One of the first stars in Stampeders franchise history, Spaith was deployed in all three phases of the game — on defence, as the quarterback on offence, and as the punter on special teams. Accordingly, he was on the field for every second of the Stamps’ victory over the Ottawa Rough Riders in the 1948 Grey Cup, the franchise’s first championship. He was a CFL All-Star in 1948-49 and was the winner of the Jeff Nicklin Memorial Trophy as best player in the west in 1949. He remains the last QB to lead his team to an undefeated season. Legendary.
Lovell Coleman, RB, 1960-1967
For eight seasons, Lovell Coleman called Calgary home and he was nothing but spectacular while with the Red and White. When he arrived in Cow Town, he was saddled behind future Hall of Famer Earl Lunsford, so he was forced to bide his time in the background. But when he was truly given the opportunity to run free in 1963, he exploded for 1,343 yards and 13 touchdowns. That was the beginning of three straight 1,000+ yards seasons and consecutive CFL All-Star and West All-Star nods. The 1964 CFL MOP and 1968 Grey Cup Champion remains in the Stampeders record books for the most rushing yards in a single game with 238 against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on September 15, 1964.