Thursday 25 March 2010

The Greatest Tiger-Cats of My Lifetime: #2

#2: Earl Winfield
The greatest WR in the history of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, bar none. Some might argue for Darren Flutie, others for Rocky DiPietro, but for my money no one was better than Earl Winfield. While I was growing up, Earl Winfield was the be all and end all as far as I was concerned. He wasn't the first Ti-Cat I cheered, but he was the one I cheered hardest.

His nickname was "The Pearl" because he was a rare gem of a player. During his 11-year career with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Winfield was a 2-time CFL All Star, and upon his retirement in 1997, he had eclipsed 10,000-yards receiving. The only thing missing from Winfield résumé, and the one thing he doesn't have that all 9 other players on this list do have, is a championship ring. Winfield came to Hamilton in 1987, one year after the Cats won the Grey Cup, and he left in 1997, two years before they would win one again. Winfield did play in the greatest game in CFL history, the 43-40 Grey Cup loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders, but his name etched on the Grey Cup was not to be.

Winfield never won, nor was nominated for, any CFL awards, but his impact on the Tiger-Cats was immense. He was the lone bright spot during many years of ineptitude following the loss to the Riders in 1989. Winfield was the main reason I kept watching the Tiger-Cats. For that he will always have a special place in my heart. That special place is what makes me rank him ahead of every player to ever don the Black & Gold, except one. Earl "The Pearl" Winfield comes in at #2 on my list of the Greatest Tiger-Cats of My Lifetime.

PREVIOUS: Joe Montford (#3)


  1. Earl was a great receiver.

    I do think that Tony Champion and Darren Flutie were just a little bit better.

  2. I thoroughly respect that opinion. It was tough ranking them. I think Flutie had more to work with in terms of teammates.

    Also, I only took Flutie's impact here into consideration. If I was to take his whole body of work, yes, Flutie would rank ahead of Winfield.

    I think Champion and Winfield are close, but Winfield is ahead on my count. Winfield's impact here was larger than Champion's, in my opinion.

  3. I agree with you about Flutie. He had more of an impact in BC and his 2 years with Edmonton compared to what Winfield did here in Hamilton.

    I don't think that Champion gets the respect he deserves. Don't get me wrong, I luv Earl the Pearl. Was a great player with us but it's really a toss up.

    Anyone who catches a pass going backwards with broken ribs in a Grey Cups gets a ton of props.

  4. Couldn't agree more about Champion. That was one of the greatest catches I've ever seen. I scoured YouTube trying to find it and all I got was some lousy video (off Google Video) some guy shot off his TV.I ranked Champion lower on the list and it wasn't easy.

    The Pearl gets a lot of love in Hamilton, but doesn't really get his due outside of it. He really should. Him and Champion not being in the Hall seems wrong to me. Both were great players. Maybe I separated them too much with Winfield at #2 and Champion at #8. But that's the fun with lists, we can debate and debate.