Sportsman of the year

Pat Grier, Sports Editor

, Last Updated: 8:14 AM ET

When Mike Clemons arrived in Toronto 15 years ago, little did any of us know the impact he would make on our city. Back then, in June 1989, he was just a 5-foot-6 running back the Toronto Argos hoped might provide a little spark to their offence. He was such an unknown he didn't even have a nickname.

Today, everyone in the city knows him as Pinball and he is the first Toronto Sun Sportsman of the Year.

As Bill Lankhof documents on Pages 154-157 of today's section, Mike Clemons did more than just provide a spark for the Argos as a football player, helping the team to three Grey Cup championships during the 1990s, he became the team's saviour.

It is not hard to imagine Toronto without the Argonauts if Pinball hadn't been around to carry the franchise on its back. He not only refused to abandon the team as it lurched through near-fatal ownership problems, reluctantly becoming its head coach, but he proved so good at the task that the Argos are the Grey Cup champions of 2004.

But what really tips the scales in Clemons' favour is his tireless work in the community with myriad charitable organizations. He gives of his time and resources generously and sincerely, displaying a goodwill toward his fellow Torontonians that puts most of us to shame.

Clemons has become such a part of Toronto that in 2005, he will officially become Canadian citizens.

For that we should all be thankful.


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