SIMMONS: The 50 most influential Toronto sporting figures of last 50 years


Fifty years and 50 people. That was the assignment.

How do you come up with the 50 most influential Toronto sports people of the last 50 years? From 1970 to today. The list could probably be 200 names long, maybe more.

And how exactly is “influential” defined? That’s personal, isn’t it? Mostly, you take educated guesses here, find the obvious names or, in some cases, pairings. You also try to find some that are not so obvious.

How do you define influence in sports? By winning, by success, by leaving a mark, by having a presence.

Where were you in ’72? Or when Joe Carter hit the home run? Or when he caught the ball at first base to win the first World Series for the Jays? When Kawhi Leonard hit the off-balance jumper from the corner or when Leon McQuay dropped the ball and made us cry? Those are unforgettable moments in our sporting history, all made possible because of these people of influence, people of magnificence, difference-makers and originals over the last 50 years.

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