The Canadian Press
This column is coming in a bit late. I blame the flu (knocked me out for a couple days) and a trip to Barbados to visit my father (He will come up later in this piece) but after Larry Walker barely made it into the baseball Hall of Fame on the slimmest of margins, I started to think about Paul Masotti.
Now, before you roll your eyes, just remember I haven’t written a Toronto Argonauts-centric story in ages. While he was never the most spectacular player on the field, Masotti finish his career with just under 9,000 yards receiving, three Grey Cups and made three All-Star teams and once used his powerful groin to make a circus catch in the 1997 Grey Cup (Click here and go to the :45 second mark).
I know Paul didn’t deserve to be inducted in his first year of eligibility, but I was shocked when I was reading up about the current Hall of Fame class (Congratulations to Terry Greer, Mervyn Fernandez, Jon Cornish, Ernie Pitts, David Williams, Frank Smith and Jim Hopson!) and discovered Masotti’s name is nowhere to be found at 64 Melrose Avenue, Hamilton.
So to the CFL Hall of Fame voting committee, in the spirit of Masotti, I would like to put forward some other names who I feel are worthy of consideration.
I promise this won’t just be a list of my favourite Argonauts but from 1996 to 2001. Drummond was an all-purpose yardage machine. Next to Doug Flutie, he was the most important cog of the devastating Argonauts attack in those two Flutie years in 1996 and 1997, scoring 35 touchdowns and racking up over 3,700 total yards from scrimmage. He would then team up with Damon Allen and the BC Lions for four more mostly ultra-productive years. Drummond was also durable playing in 131 of a possible 144 regular season games from 1995 until his final year in 2002.
Not seeing Copeland’s name in the Hall of Fame gave me a serious case of, “Wait am I reading the internet wrong?” How is he not in? As a Toronto fan, I was absolutely terrified of Copeland. He made three CFL All-Star teams, won two Grey Cups and when he retired with Toronto he was 15th all-time in receiving yards. Beyond all his numbers, he was one of the driving forces behind some of the best touchdown celebrations of all-time including my favourite: “the bobsled.” That alone should have got Copeland inducted. The guy excelled in both the East with Montreal and the West with Calgary and should be in the Hall of Fame.
All right, now I’m just getting mad. To quote from ‘Trooper’: “We’re here for a good time not a long time.” After four forgettable years in Saskatchewan, and a brief stint with the Dallas Cowboys, Richardson lit up the CFL from 2008 until 2012. Injuries would prematurely end his career so I understand this omission, as Jamel was really only relevant for five years, but what a half decade they were! He was that rare physical receiver who could consistently beat you deep and back in 2010 he nearly destroyed Tad Kornegay. Today that sort of hit would warrant a suspension but a decade ago it was a testament to his physicality. Finally, it should be pointed out that against heightened competition, a three-year playoff run from 2008 to 2010, Richardson averaged over a 100 yards receiving.
My run on receivers is over (I wanted to make a case for Edmonton’s Jason Tucker but I decided against it) but I’m sticking with a French Canadian theme for a bit longer. Anwar was named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player in 2004 and was the runner-up in 2009. Beyond the 70 sacks he registered, Anwar also finished with a rare defensive linemen double/double with 10 interceptions and 10 receptions. How many defensive ends do you know have managed to haul in 10 passes both from his own quarterback and from the opponent? The fact that Stewart isn’t in the Hall reduces me to feeling like Mugatu in ‘Zoolander.’
Okay, I’ll admit the winner of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ 2004 Most Outstanding Rookie award probably does not deserve to be in the Hall of Fame considering he made just one All-Star team and the former defensive end played just five years in Winnipeg. But he did have back-to-back double digit sack seasons in 2006 and 2007 and his last name is “Canada.” Can we not all agree that if your last name is “Canada” or say “Cape St. George-Petit Jardin-Grand Jardin-De Grau-Marches Point-Loretto” and you managed to crank out a couple seasons on the defensive line you should be automatically eligible into the Hall?
Ha, I bet you thought I was done with the Argonauts! All right, forget about the geography about Smith and consider these numbers: 49 interceptions, six-time East All-Star member and winner of three Grey Cups. Oh he also did something that Bo Levi Mitchell, Warren Moon and Anthony Calvillo never did; he finished his career with a 100 per cent completion rate! Oh sure, he only attempted two passes but one of them went for a touchdown so in my biased record books he is basically a better version of Danny McManus.
As for my father maybe it was the variety drink combinations featuring dark rum while sitting on the beach in Barbados but he went on about how former Hamilton Tiger-Cats flanker Ron Howell should be in the Hall of Fame. It was a reminder that it doesn’t matter what age group you belong to you/we will always complain about who should be and should not be in the Hall of Fame.