A great read on TiCat great Joe Zuger, some great B&W footage of TiCats vrs SSK[url=http://www.thestar.com/sports/football/2015/03/14/tiger-cats-great-joe-zuger-handles-shrine-snub-artfully.html]http://www.thestar.com/sports/football/ ... fully.html[/url]
[b]HAMILTON—On the drive to Joe Zuger’s house on the west mountain, you pass the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.
You won’t find any sign of the Tiger-Cat great’s old No. 9 jersey inside the shrine, though.
Zuger, who turned 75 in February, was a defensive back, punter and quarterback for the Ticats in the 1960s, leading them to three Grey Cup championships in five appearances. He wasn’t the best at any one position, but he was among the best at several and his versatility is perhaps unmatched in league history.
He might have been penalized for being too well-rounded as a player.
“It’s a shame he’s not in the hall of fame,? David Braley, owner of the Toronto Argonauts and B.C. Lions and a hall inductee, said in a telephone interview. “I can’t figure it out.?
There have been other notable snubs over the years — leading to talk of adding a contributors class to help correct that — but Zuger is perhaps the most glaring.
Arizona State University inducted him into its sports hall of fame years ago. So did the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame, Western chapter. Yet Zuger played and accomplished more in Canada than in the U.S. The oversight used to nag at him.
“You think about it, but it passes,? Zuger says. “Then a lot of times when (a player induction) happens it’s too late, and you don’t give a s---.?
Zuger has many supporters. Mark DeNobile — non-voting executive director of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame — says he thinks he should be in. So do Garney Henley, a hall of famer himself, and Frank Cosentino — Zuger’s former teammate, Vanier Cup-winning coach, teacher and author.
Zuger played in an era when Russ Jackson and Bernie Faloney swept up most of the individual honours, although Zuger was the 1967 Grey Cup MVP.
“You have to be a division all-star, a CFL all-star, and I was never any of them,? Zuger says.
He did, however, accomplish something that no other pro quarterback ever has: in his first CFL start on Oct. 15, 1962, with his parents looking on, Zuger threw eight TD passes — a potential ninth was wiped out by a holding penalty. Hamilton crushed Saskatchewan 67-21.
“I said, ‘Don’t expect this from me all the time because it happens only once in a lifetime,’ ? Zuger jokes.
Henley, 79, who now lives with his wife in the small farming community of Huron, S.D., remembers that game well.
“(Zuger) could do anything that Russ Jackson did,? Henley, who scored four touchdowns on that record-breaking day, said by phone.
Zuger started and won his next three starts at QB to wrap up the regular season, throwing a combined five TD passes in those games, according to the CFL’s head statistician, Steve Daniel.
As a punter, he had the CFL’s third-best season ever with a 48.5-yard average in 1971. His career average of 45.5 ranks fifth.
Zuger was also a safety in 1962-63, racking up nine interceptions before moving solely to offence.
After retiring as a player, he served as the club’s general manager for 10 seasons, winning another Grey Cup in 1986.
At six-foot-three and a still lean 210 pounds, he looks like he could still sling a football 50 yards. His health, however, has been a concern.
His face — framed by white, wispy hair — is full of red blotches. He has diabetes, and wears a pacemaker after heart bypass surgery a few years ago. He may have a beer or two over the course of a month, maybe a Bloody Mary, but says he doesn’t even drink wine anymore. He watches what he eats.
Zuger and wife Ellie — who first met as Grade 9 students in Homestead, Pa., near Pittsburgh — are opposites. She’s always on the move; he stays home. He likes the solitude. He’s been a painter since childhood and is putting the finishing touches on his latest work: a red-tailed hawk, for son Joe on his 50th birthday. The Zugers also have two daughters — Beth, 51, and Amy, 45 — and nine grandchildren.
Henley says he would do anything, including a letter of endorsement, to get Zuger his due in the Canadian football shrine. One day, maybe that connection will pay off like it did on the field in 1962.[/b]
Former Ticats great Joe Zuger, 75, poses at his Hamilton home, where he enjoys painting.