'Kid Dynamite' a game breaker

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 11:39 AM ET

First he followed his father's cleat marks on to the CFL gridiron.

Then he followed his father's footsteps into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.

Heck, they even shared the same nickname.

"My dad was 'Dynamite Eddie' James," Gerry James recalled during the Winnipeg Blue Bombers' 75th anniversary celebration recently. "I think it was Jack Wells who named me 'Kid Dynamite.' My dad, I don't remember because that was back in the early thirties and I guess he was just such a dynamite runner that that was his nickname."

But joining his dad in the hallowed hall was most memorable.

"As I said when I was inducted into the hall 25 years ago, I would have been here a lot sooner if I had listened to what my dad told me because he tried to give me advice, but you know what kids are like," James said. "They know pretty much everything there is to know. That's special. That's one of the treats I'll always have and something I'll always remember."

'Kid Dynamite' was also a treat for Bomber fans during the 1950s and early sixties. James is fifth on the club's all-time rushing list with 5,541 yards on 991 carries (third) despite playing in the same backfield as the legendary Leo Lewis and Charlie Shepard. He also leads the club with most career rushing touchdowns (57) and most in a season (18, which is tied for second-most ever in the CFL).

James still holds CFL marks for most career playoff kickoff return yards (805), kickoff return yards in a single season (263) and career kickoff return touchdowns (three). And he was the first Bomber to win the Schenley Award for top Canadian (1957).

For that list of accomplishments, James has earned the No. 22 spot on The Sun's list of the top 75 Bombers of all time.

"I didn't think they had records that went back that far," James said of his CFL playoff records. "Of course, it was totally different then. They didn't have blocking on punts and no blocking on kickoffs. So, everything's evolved."

James, 70, was also a pro hockey player while playing pro football.

"The highlight for me was probably playing in the Grey Cup Game and the Stanley Cup final within six months of each other (1959-60) -- when the Leafs played against Montreal and, of course, we beat Hamilton in the Grey Cup," he said.

His best football memory came in a CFL playoff game against Edmonton in 1957.

"They had just scored a touchdown in our stadium and we received the kickoff and I was lucky to get it and I ran it back (101 yards) for a touchdown and that turned the game around," he said of the second-longest kickoff return in CFL playoff history. "We won that particular game and we beat Edmonton in a best-of-three. So, that was sort of special for me."

But the lowlight came in that '57 Grey Cup match.

"I broke my hand in the Grey Cup Game and fumbled four times," he said. "We got beat 32-7 and we were a pretty beat-up football club at the time and I was one of them. I think it was partially my fault that we lost so, I don't have fond memories at that time."

Nowadays, James would not even have been playing.

"We were so banged up, you had to play," he said. "A broken hand was nothing."

James, who now lives on Vancouver Island, had to give up playing oldtimers hockey recently.

"They can't hit people and do those stupid things that I used to do," he explained. "So, I don't play because I don't want to aggravate myself and put up with all that stress."

CORRECTION -- Last week, we told you that Tyrone Jones was a member of three Grey Cup teams but he was actually in the NFL when Winnipeg won the 1988 Cup.


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