Hamilton Tiger-Cats banner.


The Hamilton Tigers have been playing football since 1869 when they were first founded. The Tigers were part of the Interprovincial Rugby Football Union (IRFU) with the Toronto Argonauts, Ottawa Rough Riders and the Montreal Winged Wheelers. The team colors that they were wearing is the same black and yellow design that today's Tiger-Cats wear. Under the Tigers moniker, some Hamilton Alerts players decided to play for the Tigers in the 1913 season and with their combined strength, The Tigers easily defeated the Toronto Parkdale 44-2, and won their first Grey Cup as the Hamilton Tigers. The one downside to that Grey Cup game was that only 4,000 spectators viewed the game in Hamilton. The Tigers next Grey Cup victory was in 1915, when Hamilton defeated The Toronto Rowing Athletics Association 13-7.


In 1916, it was decided that The IRFU and the ORFU will cease operations due to players leaving to fight in World War I. With the war over, the ORFU and IRFU resumed operations and were getting prepared for the 1919 season. In the return season the Hamilton Tigers finished third in the standings with a 3-3 record and did not qualify for the playoffs.


The next time Hamilton returned to the Grey Cup was in 1928, when they faced the Regina Roughriders in which the Tigers easily defeated Regina 30-0. This game was the first time an Eastern Canada team and Western Canada team played for the Grey Cup. The following season in 1929, the Tigers and Roughriders played again. With the forward pass being used in the game (first time in Grey Cup history), only 2,000 people attended the AAA grounds in Hamilton to watch the Tigers once again defeat the Roughriders in a much closer game 14-3. This was the Tigers fourth Grey Cup victory.


In 1930 during the annual Western Canada trip, the Tigers and The University of British Columbia (UBC) played the first ever game in Canada under the lights at Athletic Park in Vancouver. The Tigers easily defeated UBC 38-1. Hamilton made another Grey Cup appearance in 1932 and once again played Regina. Much like the two previous times, Hamilton became Grey Cup champions as they won 25-6. After this Grey Cup victory, the Tigers did not have the best of years, only making one more appearance in the Grey Cup in 1935, losing to the Winnipeg Winnipegs. From 1936 to 1940, the Tigers finished in third place.


From 1941 to 1944 the Tigers did not participate in football because of World War II. But in 1943, the Hamilton Wildcats won another Grey Cup for the city of Hamilton when they defeated the Winnipeg RCAF 23-14. This Grey Cup was the only one for the Wildcats. Hamilton's last game as the Tigers was during the 1949 season where they lost to the Montreal Alouettes in the East Final.


In 1950, the Tigers and the Wildcats was still around in Hamilton and the city found it hard to support these two teams, so it was decided that both the Tigers and Wildcats would merge into the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Hamilton's first season was in 1950, under head coach Carl Voyles who lasted until the 1955 season. Under coach Voyles, the Tiger-Cats had four first place finishes and two second place finishes going along with their first Grey Cup victory as the Tiger-Cats during the 1953 season, when they defeated the Winnipeg Blue Bombers12-6.


The 1953 Grey Cup champions.
Circa 1953
Civic Stadium, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada


Hamilton's next Grey Cup appearance was in 1957, when they defeated Winnipeg once again 32-7. The 1957 Grey Cup game was of significance to Canada because this was the first time the Grey Cup was shown coast to coast in Canada. In 1958 and 1959, Winnipeg and Hamilton met in the Grey Cup which Winnipeg won both times.


The 1957 Grey Cup champions.
Circa 1957
Civic Stadium, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada


In 1960, the Tiger-Cats did not reach the playoffs in which they finished the season with a 4-10 record.

Before the 1961 season started, there was much hype to the anticipated exhibition game between The AFL's Buffalo Bills and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats which was played at Civic Stadium (now it is called Ivor Wynne Stadium) in Hamilton. Hamilton taking full advantage of their first international game and using Canadian and American rules, Hamilton easily defeated Buffalo 38-21 in front of 12,000 spectators. With the win against Buffalo, the Tiger-Cats became the only Canadian team to defeat an AFL/NFL team.


Game roster from the Hamilton and Buffalo game.
8 August 1961
Civic Stadium, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada


Not at all like the 1960 season, Hamilton finished first in the Eastern Football Conference and returned to the Grey Cup, ultimately falling to Winnipeg 21-14. The next season in 1962, Hamilton finished in first place and returned to the Grey Cup to face Winnipeg in Toronto. This game was known as the Fog Bowl, and was played over a two day period. The players, coaches, and referees could not see anything on the playing field, due to the dense cloud that blanketed the stadium. As the game progressed the fog much worse, so then CFL commissioner Gerald Sydney Halter made the difficult decision that the game should be called with 9:29 left in the fourth quarter with Winnipeg leading 28-27, and should be continued the next day which was Sunday. The next day, the sky was clear, and Winnipeg held on to their one point lead and won 28-27.


Game action during the 1962 Grey Cup.
1 December 1962
Civic Stadium, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada