Who knew that a native of Lost Nation, Iowa would be one of the most successful players ever to suit up in the Blue and Gold uniform?
After quarterbacking the University of Iowa Hawkeyes to a Rose Bowl victory in 1957, Ken Ploen joined the Bombers and made an immediate impact. He was named the All-Western Quarterback in 1957 and led the team to a Grey Cup appearance. This was the start of a great career for “K.P.”
Also an excellent defensive back, Ploen was selected as an All-Western in 1959 as he established a club record with 10 interceptions that year.
But Ploen will always be remembered for his accomplishments as a quarterback. In 1961, he led the Bombers to a Grey Cup victory over the Hamilton Tiger Cats by scoring the final touchdown on an 18 yard run.
In 1965, Ploen had a tremendous season as he was selected an All-Canadian quarterback and threw a 109 yard pass to Ken Neilson to establish a new CFL record. He also won the Air Canada award as the most popular player.
Ploen retired in 1967 with a lengthy list of records and impressive stats which included 1,080 completions from 1,916 passes attempted for 16,470 yards and 119 touchdown passes, 3 time all-star, 5 Grey Cup appearances as quarterback (three victories), and the Cyclone Award in 1966. When he retired he was the sixth all-time CFL passer and fifth all-time Bomber rusher with 2,931 yards.
Often considered the best player never to win a Schenley Award, Ken Ploen’s eleven year career was brilliant and since then many tributes and awards have come his way. He was inducted into the Canadian Football League Hall of Fame in 1975, named the Bombers’ offensive player for the first half century in 1980 and in 1986 had an annual trophy named after him by the club for the best offensive player on the team.
b. June 3, 1935