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TrueBlue4ever

The MBB All-time Blue Bomber team: Running backs

The MBB All-time Blue Bomber team: Running backs  

32 members have voted

This poll is closed to new votes
  1. 1. Who are the greatest running backs in Blue Bomber history? (pick 2)

    • Fritz Hanson
      0
    • Andrew Harris
      5
    • Mack Herron
      1
    • Gerry James
      1
    • Leo Lewis
      24
    • William Miller
      0
    • Robert Mimbs
      1
    • Dave Raimey
      1
    • Willard Reaves
      9
    • Fred Reid
      0
    • Michael Richardson
      0
    • Charles Roberts
      21
    • Jim Washington
      0

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  • Poll closed on 04/13/19 at 04:59 AM

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At long last!

Here are the bios:

Stats will be broken down into rushes-yards-average-longest-TDs and then receptions-yards-average-longest-TDs for the career, with the best single season total for each in parentheses with the corresponding year following the career numbers.

 

Fritz Hanson (Galloping/Golden Ghost, Perham Flash, Twinkletoes) – 48 games in 8 seasons (1935-41, 45), 5 time divisional all-star (1937-41), Canada’s Male Athlete of the Year (1939), CFL Hall of Fame, Blue Bomber Ring of Honour, 75th Anniversary Team member, 5 Grey Cup appearances (1935, 37-39, 41), 3 time Grey Cup champion (1935, 39, 41), no stats available, here is the Blue Bomber Ring of Honour bio: https://www.bluebombers.com/2018/09/18/ring-honour-inductee-fritz-hanson/

Andrew Harris – 50 games in 3 seasons (2016-18), Rushing: 423-2399-5.7-43-18 (239-1390-5.8-43-8 all in 2018), Receiving: 230-1939-8.4-51-5 (105 rec.-857 yds. both in 2017, 9.4 avg.-51 long both in 2016, 3TDs in 2018), led CFL in rushing 2 times (2017, 18), 2 times 1000+ rushing yards (2017, 18), led CFL in receptions 1 time (105 in 2017 – CFL record for running backs), 2 times led CFL in yards from scrimmage (2017, 2018), 3 time divisional all-star (2016-18), 3 time CFL all-star (2016-18), 3 time team Most Outstanding Canadian (2016-18), 2 time West Division Most Outstanding Canadian (2017-18), CFL Most Outstanding Canadian (2017)

Mack Herron (MiniMac) – 31 games in 2 seasons (1971-72), Rushing: 456-2427-5.3-65-16 (258-1527-5.9-65-11 all in 1972), Receiving: 69-869-12.6-63-8 (39 rec.-451 yds. both in 1972, 13.9 avg.-63 long both in 1971, 4TDs in 1971, 72), led CFL in rushing 1 time (1972), 1 time 1000+ and 1500+ rushing yards (1972), led CFL 1 time in yards from scrimmage (1972) and 2 times in all-purpose yards (1971, 72), 2 time divisional all-star (1971, 72), 1 time CFL all-star (1972), 1 time team Most Outstanding Player (1972), 1 time West Division Most Outstanding Player (1972)

Gerry James (Kid Dynamite) – 135 games in 11 seasons (1952-62), Rushing: 991-5541-5.6-74-58 (197 ru., 74 long, 18TDs all in 1957-1205 yds. in 1955-9.3 avg. in 1952), Receiving: 57-711-12.5-32-5 (12-190-15.8-32 all in 1957, 2TDs in 1952), 2 times 1000+ rushing yards (1955, 57), 1 time led CFL in all-purpose yards (1955), 2 time divisional all-star (1955, 57), 1 time team Most Outstanding Player (1953), 4 time team Most Outstanding Canadian (1954, 55, 57, 60), 2 time West Division Most Outstanding Canadian (1954, 57), 2 time CFL Most Outstanding Canadian (1954, 57), club record for rushing TDs in a season (18 in 1957), #2 club in career rushing TDs (58), 6 Grey Cup appearances (1953, 57-59, 61, 62), 4 time Grey Cup champion (1958, 59, 61, 62), CFL Hall of Fame, Blue Bomber Ring of Honour, 75th Anniversary Team member, Memorial Cup winner in 1955, only person to play in a Grey Cup and Stanley Cup Finals in the same season (1959-60), or play in a Grey Cup and NHL game on the same day (Nov. 29/57)

Leo Lewis (Lincoln Locomotive) – 161 games in 12 seasons (1955-66), Rushing: 1351-8861-6.6-92-48 (167ru.-1164 yds. both in 1958-8.7 avg. in 1960-92 long in 1963-8 TDs in 1958, 61), Receiving: 234-4251-18.2-78-26 (43 rec.-695 yds.-7 TDs all in 1959, 31.4 avg. in 1955-78 long in 1960), 2 times 1000+ rushing yards (1958, 61), 6 time divisional all-star (1955, 58, 60-62, 64), 1 time CFL all-star (1962), 5 time team Most Outstanding Player (1958, 60-62, 65), #1 club in career all-purpose yards (18577) and career rushing average (6.6), #2 club in career rushing attempts (1351), yards (8861), #3 club in career TDs (75) and rushing TDs (48), CFL Hall of Fame, Blue Bomber Ring of Honour, 75th Anniversary Team member, 6 Grey Cup appearances (1957-59, 61, 62, 65), 4 time Grey Cup champion (1958, 59, 61, 62)

 William Miller - 38 games in 3 seasons (1980-82), Rushing: 552-2813-5.1-54-15 (218 ru. in 1980-1076-5.3-54-7 all in 1982), Receiving: 101-987-9.8-75-6 (43 rec.-407 yds.-75 long all in 1982, 10.1 avg.-3 TDs in 1980), 2 time 1000+ rushing yards (1980, 82), 2 time divisional all-star (1980, 82), 2 time CFL all-star (1980, 82), team Most Outstanding Rookie (1980), West Division Most Outstanding Rookie (1980), CFL Most Outstanding Rookie (1980)

Robert Mimbs – 45 games in 3 seasons (1990-92), Rushing: 687-3502-5.1-47-25 (326-1769-5.4-47-15 all in 1991), Receiving: 134-1178-8.8-33-3 (71 rec.-538 yds.-2 TDs all in 1990, 11.2 avg.-33 long both in 1991), led CFL in rushing 2 times (1990, 91), 2 time 1000+ (1990, 91) and 1 time 1500+ rushing yards (1991), led CFL 2 time in yards from scrimmage (1990, 91), 2 time divisional all-star (1990, 91), 2 time CFL all-star (1990, 91), 2 time team Most Outstanding Player (1990, 91), 1 time East Division Most Outstanding Player (1991), club records for most rushing attempts (326), yards (1769), 100+ yard rushing games in a season (10), and yards from scrimmage (2207) all in 1991, 1 Grey Cup appearance (1990), Grey Cup Champion (1990)

Dave Raimey – 66 games in 5 seasons (1965-69), Rushing: 625-3917-6.3-100-16 (188 ru.-1223 yds.-100 long all in 1966-8.1 avg. in 1965, 5 TDs in 1968), Receiving: 130-1586-12.2-96-7 (43 rec.-509 yds. both in 1968, 13.9 avg.-96 long both in 1966, 4 TDs in 1967), 2 time 1000+ rushing yards (1965, 66), led CFL 1 time in yards from scrimmage (1966) and 3 times in all-purpose yards (1966-68), 4 time divisional all-star (1965-68), 1 time CFL all-star (1966), 2 time team Most Outstanding Player (1966, 68), CFL Hall of Fame

Willard Reaves (Sheriff of Linden Woods) – 62 games in 5 seasons (1983-87), Rushing: 1110-5923-5.3-75-44 (304-1733-5.7-14 TDs all in 1984, 75 long in 1983), Receiving: 113-1202-10.6-76-9 (40 rec.-407 yds.-4 TDs all in 1984, 14.4 avg.-76 long both in 1985), led CFL in rushing 3 times (1984, 85, 87), 3 time 1000+ (1984, 85, 87) and 1 time 1500+ rushing yards (1984), led CFL 1 time in yards from scrimmage (1984), led CFL in TDs (18 in 1984), 4 time divisional all-star (1983-85, 87), 3 time CFL all-star (1984, 85, 87), 2 time team Most Outstanding Player (1983, 84), 1 time West Division Most Outstanding Player (1984), 1 time CFL Most Outstanding Player (1984), #2 club records for most rushing attempts (304), yards (1733) in a season, club record 100+ yard rushing games in a season (10) and consecutive 100+ yard games (8), #2 in career 100+ yard rushing games (26), #3 club in career rushing attempts (1110) and yards (5923), 1 Grey Cup appearance (1984), Grey Cup Champion (1984), 75th Anniversary Team member

Fred Reid – 83 games in 5 seasons (2007-11), Rushing: 773-4505-5.8-61-22 (238 ru.-7 TDs both in 2009, 1396 yds.-61 long both in 2010, 7.0 avg. in 2008), Receiving: 99-810-8.2-44-1 (35 rec.-255 yds. both in 2010, 8.3 avg.-44 long both in 2011, 1 TD in 2009), 2 time 1000+ rushing yards (2009, 10), 1 time led CFL in rushing (2010), 3 time divisional all-star (2008-10), 1 time CFL all-star (2010), 2 Grey Cup appearances (2007, 11), club record rushing yards in one game (260)

Michael Richardson – 33 games in 3 seasons (1992, 93, 96), Rushing: 467-2456-5.3-31-12 (211 ru.-1153 yds.-31 long all in 1992, 5.6 avg. in 1993, 5 TDs in 1996), Receiving: 100-878-8.8-41-8 (46 rec.-378 yds. both in 1993, 9.7 avg.-41 long-3 TDs all in 1992), 1 time 1000+ rushing yards (1992), 2 times led CFL in rushing (1992, 93), 2 time divisional all-star (1992, 93), 2 time CFL all-star (1992, 93), team/East/CFL Outstanding Rookie (1992), 2 Grey Cup appearances (1992, 93), club record rushing yards in one playoff game (227)

Charles Roberts (Blink) – 131 games in 8 seasons (2001-08), Rushing: 1853-9987-5.4-70-64 (303 ru. in 2006, 1624 yds. in 2005, 5.9 avg. in 2003, -70 long in 2002, 16 TDs in 2007), Receiving: 362-3341-9.2-64-13 (55 rec.-613yds.-11.1 avg. 6 TDs all in 2002, 64 long in 2005), 6 times 1000+ (2002-07) and 4 times 1500+ rushing yards (2003-06), 7 time divisional all-star (1955, 58, 60-62, 64), 7 time CFL all-star (2001-07), team and East Outstanding Rookie (2001), team/East/CFL Outstanding Special Teams Player (2001), 4 time team Most Outstanding Player (2003-06), 1 time East Division Most Outstanding Player (2006), led CFL 3 times in rushing (2003, 05, 06), 5 times in yards from scrimmage (2003-07)-(3 times over 2000 yards) and 3 times in all-purpose yards (2002, 03, 06)-(1 time over 3000 yards), #2 club in career all-purpose yards (17528), #1 club in career rushing attempts (1853), yards (9987) and career 100+ yard rushing games (37), #2 club in career TDs (79) and #1 in career rushing TDs (64),#3, 4 ,5 and 7 single season rushing totals in club history, CFL Hall of Fame, 75th Anniversary Team member, 2 Grey Cup appearances (2001, 07)

Jim Washington – 82 games in 6 seasons (1974-79), Rushing: 1117-5736-5.1-68-30 (252 ru. in 1977, 1277 yds.-5.8 avg.-68 long-12 TDs all in 1976), Receiving: 181-1435-7.9-61-7 (47 rec.-428 yds.-2TDs all in 1976, 9.6 avg. in 1979-61 long in 1977), 3 times 1000+ rushing yards (1976-78), 2 time divisional all-star (1976, 77), 2 time CFL all-star (1976, 77), 2 time team Most Outstanding Player (1976, 77)

Edited by TrueBlue4ever

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On 2019-04-05 at 7:37 PM, Noeller said:

Tough list, for sure, but for me it was a fairly easy selection....Leo Lewis and Charles Roberts. 

Those are my picks too. 

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On ‎05‎/‎04‎/‎2019 at 10:19 PM, Jpan85 said:

Andrew Harris in two years despite overall numbers will be top of list but right now Roberts Lewis

Harris will need at least 4 or 5 more years of production like the last 2 to be considered. He is great ,but this is pretty heady competition. As I said before, right now he might scratch top 5.

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49 minutes ago, TrueBlue4ever said:

Harris will need at least 4 or 5 more years of production like the last 2 to be considered. He is great ,but this is pretty heady competition. As I said before, right now he might scratch top 5.

Harris had the misfortune to be stuck in BC with an O-line that was mediocre on a good day and a coach who did not see Harris' potential for the first few years. Had he been in Winnipeg from Day One, his status would not be in question.

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One man's take:

First of all, I must apologize for some egregious omissions. Tom Casey, Bob McNamara, and Charlie Shepard should all have been included on the list, and would in my mind rank above some of the others this list, but in the end 13 was a sizable number in itself, and I don't believe any of these omitted players would have cracked the top 2.

From this list-

13) Miller - Great rookie season, but the focus of those Bomber teams was Brock's passing, not Miller's running.

12) Richardson - only back to ever win a rushing title in a 16 game or more season with less than 1000 yards (beat out Damon Allen 925-920 in 1993). Like Miller, was serviceable but not the key element of a pass happy offense.

11) Reid - a very strong 2010 season, and a game for the ages against BC (260 yards, 3rd best ever) in the only successful display of the otherwise goofy "Jet Package" (does it bother anyone else that the greatest rushing AND passing games in Bomber history are both products of the Mike Kelly offensive system? Maybe "The Source" will chime in). But Reid, an admirable replacement for Charlie Roberts, never felt like a game changer at running back to me.

10) Mimbs - Holds the single season rushing record - the only Bomber ever to rush for a mile in one year. So why do I not really remember anything about him? A very underrated back, if he had hung around for a few more years would rank higher.

9) Washington - very steady numbers, he was good for 1000 or so every year, but was buried on some poor teams which lowers his profile

8) Raimey - Like Washington, very good numbers over an extended period, but stuck on some poor teams, and replacing a legend in Leo Lewis he suffers by comparison. One of the best backs on the list in terms of pass catching, and he was a star returner as well, which moves him up on the list.

7) Herron - Destined for greatness, especially after that revelatory 1972 season, but a drug bust in the off-season led to his departure, so he does not have the mileage to crack the top 6. Depending on my mood, he could slide as low as #10 on this list for me.

The top 6 are now in the "has done something no other Bomber RB ever did" category, so they get raised a level above: 

5 tie) James and Harris - I said before Harris was in tough to crack the top 5, which I am sure will be met with some flak from younger MBB members. So I'll put him in a tie with KId Dymamite (maybe if Harris had a cool nickname he might rank higher). Both are Winnipeg natives and grads of our high school football programs. James' numbers appear smaller, but he had to share time with Lewis, Casey, McNamara, and Shepard, and was still able to put up some heady numbers (18 rushing TDs in one season!) and be the best Canadian on the team 4 times, one more than Harris. Harris has more all-star nods, and is arguably the best dual threat runner/receiver the club has ever employed at running back (although Leo Lewis makes a pretty compelling case as a receiver too). Trying not to let James' moonlighting as an NHLer at the same time influence me - I will hedge my bets and place both of them at the edge of the top 5. In the "only player ever to...." category, no one else has ever hit 1000+ rushing-800+ receiving yards in one season in CFL history (Harris) or played both the Stanley Cup and Grey Cup in the same season, or for that matter a Grey Cup and NHL game IN THE SAME DAY (James)

4) Hanson - no stats make a comparison hard, but he was the first player to ever put the Bombers on the map, and was THE team by all accounts in his playing days. His "only player ever to..." contribution? Name another Bomber who was the best male athlete in the nation across all sports. Can't? That's because no one else ever has been honoured as such. That puts him up to #4 for me.

3) Reaves - My 1984 bias clearly on display, but he is the only Bomber RB to ever be selected as the Most Outstanding Player in the CFL, so that rarified air of top 3 is warranted to me. He boasted before the year started that he wanted to hit 1800 rushing yards, and came oh so close to hitting it, despite being the primary target in every game. The Bomber game plan was "run on first down for 5-6 yards, short pass play on 2nd down, repeat down the field". A classic power back with deceptive speed and brilliant vision and cutting ability for a big man, has was essentially automatic for 20 carries and 100 yards a game. Even his lesser seasons were quite impressive ("only" 1323 yards in an off year in 1985 ,1471 in 1987). He was the focal point of the offence for 5 years here.

2) Lewis - Bud Grant called him "the greatest player I ever coached". I defy anyone to come up with a better counter-argument as to why Lewis should not be on the all-time team. Still the career leader in all-purpose yards for the club, and #2 in career rushing, in a committee running system he was still the most dominant player on the team during the club's 50-'s-60's heyday. Threat as a runner, receiver, and returner, he did it all. His "only player to..." list includes winning 4 Grey Cups, being the team MOP 5 times, and leading in career all-purpose yards.

1) Roberts - It would take a lot to bump Lewis off the top of this list, but 6 straight 1000+ and  4 straight 1500+ yard rushing seasons (only player to...) is my rationale for doing so. Unlike Reaves or Harris, who could generate 3-4 more yards after first contact on pure power, Roberts was the best ever at avoiding tackles for losses (which given his o-line, was an occurrence at least a half dozen times a game in some cases) by being untouchable. Still, he was able to fight for extra yards consistently when he was being wrapped up, despite his small stature. The Barry Sanders of the CFL, his rushing totals were more of an individual accomplishment than almost any other back. In an era when Khari Jones and Kevin Glenn each topped 5000 yards passing, and we had receivers like Bobby Gordon, Geroy Simon, Albert Johnson III, Milt Stegall, Terrance Edwards and Arland Bruce to name but a few, Roberts was still a superstar.

Edited by TrueBlue4ever

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42 minutes ago, Tracker said:

Harris had the misfortune to be stuck in BC with an O-line that was mediocre on a good day and a coach who did not see Harris' potential for the first few years. Had he been in Winnipeg from Day One, his status would not be in question.

Harris is a great back but I wouldn't rate him that high in terms of pure physical talent, at least not compared to many other RB's on the list who had jaw-dropping explosiveness.  He has accomplished his greatness through very hard work, determination, a great O-line and an offence that highlights him.  Kind of a work mule among thoroughbreds.

Edited by Throw Long Bannatyne

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On 2019-04-05 at 10:19 PM, Jpan85 said:

Andrew Harris in two years despite overall numbers will be top of list but right now Roberts Lewis

Even if you include his BC numbers, he doesn't stack up to Roberts or Lewis.

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Charles Roberts for me. Making opposing players simply fall down,  just with his moves. Had to be the most "elusive " player, any position, in league history.

Edited by Mark F

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50 minutes ago, Jesse said:

Even if you include his BC numbers, he doesn't stack up to Roberts or Lewis.

If we include receiving stats and factor in the blocking ability then I really do think that Roberts and Harris are on par.    If we are talking about handing off the ball and expecting a big play then I definitely favour Roberts.

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On 2019-04-08 at 1:19 PM, Noeller said:

Roberts is a massively underrated pass catcher....

I think I disagree with this.

He was ever used in the passing game, so it's hard to say, but I don't really remember him forcing the issue by being spectacular during limited opportunities.

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He took hitches and screens all the time, and turned them into impossible yards. Nobody made something outta nothing like ChuckBob could......and yes, he did it both via handoff and with hitch screen passes...

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Looking back, he had a lot more receptions that I had given him credit for.

My bad - I just remember myself thinking "why doesn't he get more receptions?", but my past self was clearly talking out of his ass.

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22 minutes ago, Jesse said:

Looking back, he had a lot more receptions that I had given him credit for.

My bad - I just remember myself thinking "why doesn't he get more receptions?", but my past self was clearly talking out of his ass.

Look at the receiving corps we had............but yes, he did receive the ball a lot and was VERY good at it...

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6 minutes ago, Noeller said:

Look at the receiving corps we had............but yes, he did receive the ball a lot and was VERY good at it...

I was young and Roberts was my favourite player.

I remember creating arguments in my head for why he was better than Joffrey Reynolds.

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25 minutes ago, Jesse said:

I was young and Roberts was my favourite player.

I remember creating arguments in my head for why he was better than Joffrey Reynolds.

no argument there.......Roberts all day and twice on Sundays. What's really funny is the Riders fans of the day (there were many) who said Chris Szarka was better than Mike Sellers.....

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18 minutes ago, Noeller said:

no argument there.......Roberts all day and twice on Sundays. What's really funny is the Riders fans of the day (there were many) who said Chris Szarka was better than Mike Sellers.....

Did someone say Chris Szarka? Time for this video clip, then.

 

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