Not easy picking top Blue

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 11:18 AM ET

Throughout the season, The Sun has provided readers with our version of the top 75 Blue Bombers of all time in their 75th anniversary season.

The list was basically one man's assessment with some learned suggestions from teammates Paul Friesen and Kirk Penton and was based on merit. We did our best to include players from the early teams, basing our decisions on info provided by, first, Vince Leah, and later, Jack Matheson, through the Bomber history books they wrote.

Those in the CFL Hall of Fame were almost automatic with an edge given to those in the club's hall, award winners, record holders and all-stars. But it hurt to make the final cuts. If this had been a top 100, it would have included the likes of Perry Tuttle, Aaron Brown, Lyle Bauer, Charlie Shepard and others.

Here is the eighth and final installment, the top five, in the series. The complete list of 75 is on the facing page.

5. Milt (Turtle Man) Stegall, SB (1995 to present) is a future Canadian Football Hall of Famer who was named the CFL's Most Outstanding Player in 2002. Stegall, who has already been named to five divisional and four CFL all-star squads, was the club's all-time leading receiver before the 2005 CFL season started with 626 receptions for 11,168 yards and 109 touchdowns -- and was 10th on the CFL's all-time list. Earlier this year, Stegall set the CFL record for most career TD catches, breaking the mark of 117 set by Calgary's Allen Pitts. Stegall also holds the CFL standard for most TD receptions in one season (23) and highest average of yards gained per catch in one season (26.5). Stegall also holds club marks for most 1,000-yard receiving seasons (eight, including this year), most consecutive 1,000-yard seasons (seven) and most consecutive games with TD receptions (eight). Stegall will also set the club mark for most seasons leading the team in receiving yards (six) this year.

4. Greg Battle, LB (1987-93/1997-98) is a Bomber Hall of Famer who was a two-time CFL and three-time divisional all-star. He won two Schenley Awards as the CFL's top defensive player (1990 and '91), was the eastern nominee in 1989 and the Bomber rep a total of four times. Battle holds the Bomber record for most career defensive tackles (607, more than 200 more than the runner-up); most in a season (124), as well as second-most (114) and is tied with K.D. Williams and Ken Hailey for most in a game (13). Battle, who also played for three other CFL teams, started this season in fourth in career defensive tackles with 766. He leads the Bombers in most career fumble returns with 21 and fumble return yards, and has the second-most in season (5). Battle had the second-most tackles for losses career before last season with 22 and is tied for second-most in a season (9). He also has the club record for most career fumble returns (21) and second-most in season. Battle's two interceptions in one Grey Cup Game is tied for the record and his 88 interception return yards is also tied for the most. In fact, that 88 is second-most in career Cup games. Battle was also the long-snapper on punts and played fullback in short-yardage situations.

3. Chris (Bluto) Walby, OL/DL (1981-96) is a CFL Hall of Famer who was a nine-time CFL all-star and a divisional all-star 11 times. Walby, who some believe was the best offensive lineman to ever play in the CFL, also won two Schenleys as CFL's top O-lineman (1987 and 1993). He was also the eastern nominee once and the Bomber nominee a total of nine times. Walby helped the Bombers win three Grey Cups.

2. Leo (Lincoln Locomotive) Lewis, RB/KR (1955-66) is a CFL Hall of Famer who was a six-time divisional and one-time CFL all-star. He still leads the Bombers in career rushing with 8,861 yards, which is sixth on the CFL's all-time list. Lewis leads the club in average gain per career rush (6.56 yards) and has recorded the second-most games with 100 yards rushing or more (20). Lewis is second in club career rushing TDs (48) and 10th on club's all-time receiving list with 4,251 yards. Lewis leads in career kickoff return yardage (5,444, which is fourth on the CFL's all-time list); holds the club mark for best kickoff return career average (29.11 yards, second on the CFL's career list); and he holds club mark for highest kickoff return average in single season (32.8 yards). Lewis is also tied for the most club career playoff TDs (nine), is sixth in all-time playoff rushing yardage (1,122) and boasts the third-longest single rush in a playoff game (80 yards). Lewis also holds the second-most career Grey Cup rushing yards (359) and still holds the record for most career Grey Cup kickoff return yardage (306) on the second-most returns (10).

1. Ken Ploen, QB/DB (1957-67) is a CFL Hall of Famer who was a three-time divisional and one-time CFL all-star. But most importantly of all, Ploen led the franchise to six Grey Cup appearances, winning four of them. Ploen still leads the club in most career rushing yards by a quarterback (2,996) and most in a single season (541 yards), and he still boasts the Bomber record for highest passer rating in a season (118.2 in 1962). His career passing completion percentage (56.9%) rates fourth on Winnipeg's all-time list. He is still third on both the club's all-time completion (1,084) and passing (16,470 yards) lists and he leads the Bombers in career average gain per pass (8.60 yards). His 10.08 yard average gain per pass in 1962 is also the club's best and his 1.9% pass interception percentage was the club's lowest ever. Ploen is third in all-time touchdown tosses (119) and second in all-time picks (106). He was also an all-star DB in 1959 and is fourth on the club list for most interception returns in one season (10). Ploen also hooked up with Ken Nielsen to record the longest CFL playoff pass reception (109 yards) and entered the 2005 season in the top 15 of all-time playoff passing yards (2,354).


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