Time often makes the heart grow fonder, so it is not surprising that when we talk of all-time “favourite” Maple Leaf players, we generally harken back to what was, for many of us, the good old days.
In my particular case, that means the 1960s—though there have been all kinds of Leafs I liked a lot in the ensuing decades, right up to the present. While championship success triggers fond memories, for sure, liking a player is not restricted to the team necessarily winning a lot. The 1980s was not a great decade for the Leafs or their followers but many players still became fan favourites, including, of course, Wendel Clark.
For me, it’s easy to think back to my youth and have fond memories of Dickie Duff (right), Johnny Bower, Bobby Baun, and other Leafs like Tim Horton, Bob Pulford and Dave Keon. The ‘70s brought Darryl Sittler, Lanny McDonald and personal favourites like Brian Spencer and Scott Garland. A lot of Leaf supporters grew up in the ‘80s, and naturally fell in love with Clark because of his hard-hitting, rambunctious style of play. In the '90s Felix Potvin and Doug Gilmour emerged as extremely popular Leafs. Who didn't cheer for "The Cat" and "Dougie"?
So I’ll throw out the question: who are some of your favourite all-time Maple Leafs? The era doesn’t matter, whether it’s forty years ago or from the present roster. We all have our own reasons for liking a particular player, whether it is their skill, style of play, attitude or work ethic.