The legendary Sugarfoot

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:19 AM ET

Through seven decades of Calgary Stampeders history, there is one constant, one thing that has stayed the same.

The gentleman quietly watching practice this season is the same Sugarfoot Anderson who played with the team from 1949-54.

He wore the No. 00 as a tight end during some of the best seasons in club history. The number is up on the Stamps Wall of Fame at McMahon Stadium, with only Harry Hood having an earlier year under his name.

Anderson, who grew up in Arkansas, travelled all over North America playing football, doing army duty and eventually acting in movies. But since his playing career ended, Sugarfoot remained in Calgary, his love for the city and the Stamps staying as strong as his massive hands.

"I don't care who owns the club, I still bleed the Red and White," said Sugarfoot, who's now 85. "This is the only (Canadian) city I've lived in and been involved in.

"I think it's the greatest city in the world. We don't have much of the trouble others have in the world. We're lucky to be here."

His job with the Stamps is as a sales associate. Through his contacts around the city, he'll help the players find places to live, get a vehicle or find a place to eat.

The real contribution is just from having his presence around the office and practice field. Sugarfoot is a link to the past and a reminder of the club's tradition. Whenever Sugarfoot looks up at the McMahon Stadium wall and sees his name, he beams.

"I'm proud of that. I'm proud I contributed so much to the team that they put me up there," he said. "I'm just glad to still be around to talk to people and hear them say they saw me play at old Meewata Stadium.

"It makes you feel good that people still remember you."

Before arriving in Calgary, Sugarfoot played football in the Los Angeles area for a team owed by a group of movie stars. His engaging personality got him a few small parts in motion pictures, including the original biography of the racehorse Seabiscuit.

"I said the first words in the movie, to Barry Fitzgerald and Shirley Temple. 'Take them back to the ranch,' " Sugarfoot said. "We made the movie back in Kentucky. The new one had so much electronic stuff. They wanted to see the expressions on the horses' faces. We made our movie with the real Seabiscuit.

"I guess I've had an interesting life," he adds with a chuckle.

He will never leave Calgary and hasn't been back to Arkansas in more than 50 years.

"This is best place in the world because people treated me so well," he said.


Videos

Photos