Kid Dynamite

Hello Ron:

Firstly, thank you for your prompt reply to my inquiry and for providing your email address. I was very surprised but delighted to learn last year that this truly unique but largely forgotten Canadian athlete was to have a book dedicated in his honour. Considering that he has been retired from professional sports for 47 years and that this, to the best of my knowledge, is the first published biography, I look at it as a remarkable undertaking.

I first became familiar with Gerry James when I was six years old and was trying to collect some of the cards in the 1958 Topps CFL series. I liked the Gerry James card just because of his picture. I also liked his name. I never saw him play in those days though since the interlocking schedule had not yet been introduced (I've lived in Ottawa just about all my life) and am pretty sure I didn't watch the 1959 Grey Cup or can't recall (I have a VHS copy of the 1958 Grey Cup but ofcourse Gerry did not play). In fact, I really don't recall seeing Gerry play until the 1961 Grey Cup. However, I was always amazed that every year you could get his card in the fall in a Blue Bombers uniform and in the winter wearing a Leafs jersey.

It wasn't until after he retired, probably in the late sixties when I was in my mid-teens that I decided to contact the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to see if they could send me pictures of Gerry. Well, they sent me two great ones - one is the full length picture which was the basis for the 1958 cropped Topps card with Gerry standing in a halfback position and wearing the unfamiliar number 94; and one closeup from the waist up smiling into the sun and wearing his good old #98. I was playing high school football at the time and was trying to learn how to place kick (with my right foot). I think I had my Dad track down an address in Yorktown, Sask. where I might reach Gerry and I sent him a very long letter. The letter was never returned so I assume it reached him. The words of praise from a young boy may have been a little overwhelming. Although he had retired and I hadn't really seen him play that many times in football or hockey, Gerry James had become, for reasons only apparent to a hero worshiping young boy, one of my sports idols.

He is in the CFL Hall of Fame and deservedly so but I am still very surprised he has never received the wide spread recognition he is due. The CFL, unlike the NFL, has failed in selling the history of the game - the great players of the past - to the young fans of today. Many great stars that even someone as "young" as I (60) saw play have been forgotten because of lack of promotion and limited access to video. Here is a player who came up with the Bombers as a 17 year old, scored a TD in the 1953 Grey Cup a year later, was part of Bud Grant's legendary teams and who played two professional sports.

I am looking forward to your book and I hope to learn more about your connection with Gerry and why you chose to write his biography.

Thank you for this overdue publication and all the best to you and Gerry during the tour.

Yours truly,

Stan Tinker