Grey Cups Won: 1 (1912)
Grey Cups Lost: 0
The Hamiltgon Alerts first show up in 1909, playing as an Intermediate team in the ORFU (Ontario Rugby Football Union). At that time, the top level of football in Canada was called Senior, and the intermediate teams were one step below them. The best players might jump directly from junior to senior play, but others would require a year or two of intermediate play before moving up. The Grey Cup, which was donated in 1909 was awarded to the top senior team, but the intermediate teams had their own championship. The Hamilton Alerts moved up to play at the senior level of the ORFU for two seasons in 1911 and 1912. The Alerts pulled what most considered a big upset in 1912 when they defeaed the Toronto Argonauts of the IRFU (Interprovincial Rugby Football Union) 11-4 to win the fourth ever Grey Cup game. The first t hree, having all been won by the Universityh of Toronto.
There isn't a whole lot known about the 1912 Grey Cup champions, even most of their first names are hard to find in the newspapers and records that are left. The captain of the team was halfback Norman (Tout) Leckie and he along with Ross Craig led the Alerts to the victgory with Craig scoring the only touchdown of the game. Craig is normally listed as an inside wing or guard in the modern terminology, but the game was a lot different back in 1912. The teams had 14 players per side, and the forward pass would not be legal even in a limited fashion until 1929. Many of the running plays were set up to give the ball to "ploungers" like Craig who was not lined up in the backfield. Accounts of the game also credit a strong defence by the Alerts who held Argonaut star and future hall of famer, Dr. Smirle Lawson in check.
Account of the 1912 Grey Cup
Picture of the 1912 Hamilton Alerts
The Alerts faded from the senior football scene in 1913, when they were replaced in the ORFU by the Hamilton Rowing Club. The name Alerts was revived in the Hamilton football scene in 1940 when a club was entered in the ORFU for one season under that name.