Pick of the Argos crop

STEVE SIMMONS -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:50 AM ET

No two ballots could possibly look alike.

And that's what makes the exercise of picking an All-Time Argonauts team so darn interesting.

Depending on your age, your biases, your personal favourites, this is like lining up at a buffet filled with all kinds of choices, but only one plate to fill.

So here is mine.

I'm writing this as someone whose first Argos game happened to be Dick Shatto Day

I was nine years old on that memorable football day.

In making the following selections, I have but one proviso: To qualify for this team, you had to play five years for Toronto.

Which means, there is no place here for Leon McQuay or Rocket Ismail. There is a place, however, for breaking my own rule and it begins, as everything CFL does, at quarterback.

QUARTERBACK (1)

Nominees: Damon Allen, Matt Dunigan, Doug Flutie, Condredge Holloway, Tobin Rote.

Doug Flutie played only two seasons for the Argos but what two seasons they were. Two Grey Cup victories. Two Most Outstandings Player Awards. The two greatest passing seasons in Argos history on the most dominant Argos team. He has to be the quarterback on this team.

RUNNING BACKS (2)

Nominees: Pinball Clemons, Cookie Gilchrist, Bill Symons, Ulysses Curtis, Joe Krol, Ted Toogood, Robert Drummond, Cedric Minter, Gill Fenerty, Dick Shatto.

How do you have an all-time Argos team without Pinball Clemons? But how do you leave Hall of Famers Shatto or Joe Krol off the team? So here is my compromise, the legends Krol and Shatto are the running backs (with Gilchrist losing out on The Flutie Rule). We'll fit Pinball in somewhere else.

WIDE RECEIVERS (2)

Nominees: Eric Allen, Dave Mann, Emanuel Tolbert, Royal Copeland, Paul Masotti, Jack Wedley, Terry Greer, Tony Miles, Rocket Ismail, Bobby Taylor.

The first pick here is easy. Terry Greer is a slam dunk, the best Argos wideout ever. The second choice, not so much. You could pick Copeland, even though this wasn't really his position in the '40s and '50s. You could pick Masotti, who was more dependable than spectacular. You could pick Taylor, at least I could, because I loved his feisty game. But in the end, you can't ignore Copeland's Hall of Fame credentials so I place him alongside Greer.

SLOTBACKS/TIGHT ENDS (2)

Nominees: Jeff Boyd, Peter Muller, Darrell K. Smith, Arland Bruce III, Paul Pearson, Rod Smylie, Mike Eben, Al Pfeifer, Mookie Mitchell, Mel Profit.

A quick declaration of bias: Mel Profit is my all-time favourite Argo. A second declaration: It is difficult to choose between tight ends (now extinct in the CFL) and slotbacks, who are the statistically dominant. So to deal with that, I will pick one tight end and one slotback. Profit at tight end; the slotback comes down to Mookie Mitchell, Darrell K. Smith or Arland Bruce and if this was three years from now, the answer probably would be Bruce. Today, we'll go with Mitchell and Profit and wish we could pick a third.

CENTRE (1)

Nominees: Ian Beckstead, Paul Desjardins, Chad Folk, Mike Kiselak, Norm Stoneburgh.

My father always told me Norm Stoneburgh was the best centre the Argos ever had, and really, who can argue?

GUARD (2)

Nominees: Les Ascott, Freddy Black, Charlie Bray, Dan Ferrone, Noah Jackson, Jude St. John, Shanty McKenzie, Frankie Morris, Pierre Vercheval, Bill Zock.

Noah Jackson's best years were spent blocking for Walter Payton in Chicago. So we'll go with longevity and pedigree and select Hall of Fame member Bill Zock from the '30s and '40s and future Hall member Dan Ferrone.

TACKLE (2)

Nominees: Bill Albright, Pete Bennett, Bill Frank, John Kerns, Steve Levantis, Danny Nykoluk, Kelvin Pruenster, Chris Schultz, Billy Shipp, Willie Williams.

Bill Frank would be the quick pick if he had played more than four seasons of his 15 CFL seasons here. Instead, we'll take Danny Nykoluk's 204 games and pair him with Chris Schultz, who managed to play 124 games in between about 124 knee operations.

KICKER (1)

Nominees: Zenon Andrusyshyn, Lance Chomyc, Noel Prefontaine, Mike Vanderjagt, Nick Volpe.

Lance Chomyc scored more points than any Argo in history, more points than any Argo in a single season. End of story.

PUNTER (1)

Nominees: Zenon Andrusyshyn, Hank Ilesic, Joe Krol, Dave Mann, Noel Prefontaine.

Noel Prefontaine is probably the best combination of kicker/punter the Argos have ever had. But that's not what's being asked for here. Here, he is up against the best punter, maybe best ever, in our choice, Hank Ilesic.

Tomorrow: The All-Time Argos Defence, Coach and Special Team Player.


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