Hamilton Tiger-Cats’ legend Angelo Mosca passes away at the age of 84

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

The CFL community has suffered a massive loss Saturday, as Rick Zamperin of Good Morning Hamilton reports that legendary Hamilton Tiger-Cat Angelo Mosca has passed away.

“A very sad day in Hamilton, Ontario & the CFL. From the family of Ticats legend Angelo Mosca. ‘It is with great sadness that the family of Angelo Mosca announce his passing on November 6, 2021, after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s. Angelo was a loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather as well as friend to so many. Angelo was 84 years old. We ask that you respect the family’s privacy at this time. More details will be shared when arrangements have been made.'”

Considered by many to be the greatest Tiger-Cat of all time, Mosca’s number 68 is one of just two jerseys permanently retired by the club. Known as the meanest player in CFL history, he personified the city’s hard-nosed grit for 12 seasons, first from 1958 to 1959, then again from 1962 until his retirement in 1972. In between, Mosca had brief stops in Montreal and Ottawa.

Mosca was elected to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1987 and remains tied with former teammate John Barrow with a CFL record nine Grey Cup appearances. He would win the trophy five time, four with Hamilton.

Standing six-foot-four and 275 pounds, the Notre Dame product was a monster in the era before official defensive statistics were kept. Mosca was twice the the runner-up for the league’s Most Outstanding Lineman award and was selected as an East Division all-star six times. He would later translate his ferocious on-field reputation and nickname of ‘King Kong’ Mosca into a successful pro wrestling career.

While adored by older fans for his on-field performance, Mosca reintroduced himself to the younger generation back in 2011 during a pre-Grey Cup CFL alumni luncheon, when a disagreement between he and former B.C. Lions quarterback Joe Kapp stemming from a notorious late hit in the 1963 Grey Cup descended into a brawl between the septuagenarians.

The moment went viral and served as a perfect illustration of the effect Mosca had on games. 50 years later, opponents were still thinking about him and fans will never forget him.