Ferguson Jenkins

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Ferguson Jenkins
Jenkins 31.JPG
Pitcher
Born: (1942-12-13) December 13, 1942 (age 71)
Chatham, Ontario
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 10, 1965 for the Philadelphia Phillies
Last MLB appearance
September 26, 1983 for the Chicago Cubs
Career statistics
Win–loss record 284–226
Earned run average 3.34
Strikeouts 3,192
Teams
Career highlights and awards
Induction 1991
Vote 75.4% (third ballot)

Ferguson Arthur "Fergie" Jenkins, Jr., CM (born December 13, 1942)[1] is a Canadian former Major League Baseball right-handed pitcher. He was a three-time All-Star and the 1971 National League Cy Young Award winner. In 1991, Jenkins became the first Canadian to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. During a 19-year career, he pitched for four different teams, spending the majority of his career with the Chicago Cubs. Jenkins also played basketball in the off-season as a member of the Harlem Globetrotters, from 1967 to 1969.[2]

Early life[edit]

Jenkins was born and raised in Chatham, Ontario, the only child of Delores and Ferguson Jenkins, Sr.[2] His father, a chef and chauffeur,[3] immigrated from Barbados, while his mother was a descendant of American slaves who escaped through the Underground Railroad, before settling in Southwestern Ontario.[2] Both of his parents were good athletes; his father was an amateur boxer and semi-pro baseball player.

A talented athlete, Jenkins competed in track and field, ice hockey, and basketball in his school years, lettering five times. When he began playing bantam baseball in his teens, he started out as a first baseman. He honed his pitching skills by throwing pieces of coal from a local coal yard, aiming at either an open ice chute or the gaps of passing boxcars.[2] He was also encouraged to continue working on his pitching by Gene Dziadura, a former shortstop in the Chicago Cubs minor league system, and a Philadelphia Phillies scout. Many training sessions between the two followed until Jenkins graduated from high school.

Career[edit]

Early years[edit]

In 1962, he was signed by Philadelphia Phillies scout Tony Lucadello.[2] Jenkins made his major-league debut as a 22-year-old in 1965, as a relief pitcher. He was traded the following year to the Chicago Cubs, along with Adolfo Phillips and John Herrnstein, for pitchers Larry Jackson and Bob Buhl. Jenkins would become one of the best pitchers in the majors. In his first full year as a starter for the Cubs (1967), Jenkins recorded twenty wins while posting a 2.80 ERA and 236 strikeouts. He finished tied for second in the Cy Young Award voting, following Mike McCormick of the San Francisco Giants. He was also selected for the All-Star Game for the first time that season.

The following year his numbers improved; once again he won twenty games, his ERA dropped to 2.63 and his strikeout total increased to 260. Jenkins established a reputation for achieving his pitching feats and his statistics while spending most of his career pitching in a "hitter's ballpark"—Wrigley Field in Chicago.[4] Furthermore, in 1968, Jenkins lost five of his starts in 1–0 ballgames.

1971 season[edit]

Jenkins had his best season in 1971. On April 6, 1971, Jenkins started the Cubs' opening-day game. The Cubs defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 2–1 in 10 innings at Wrigley Field. Jenkins pitched a complete game for the Cubs, and Billy Williams hit a home run in the final inning for the victory.[5] On September 1, 1971, Jenkins threw another complete game against the Montreal Expos and had two home runs. The Cubs won the game 5–2.[6]

That season, Jenkins threw a complete game in 30 of 39 starts and received a decision in 37 of them, finishing with a 24–13 record (.649). He walked only 37 batters versus 263 strikeouts across 325 innings.[7] He played in the All-Star Game and finished seventh in MVP voting. Jenkins also posted a .478 slugging percentage, hitting six home runs and driving in twenty runs in just 115 at-bats.

Jenkins won the 1971 NL Cy Young Award. Jenkins was the first Cubs pitcher and the first Canadian to win the Cy Young Award (Quebec native Éric Gagné is the only other Canadian to match the feat). He received 17 of 24 first-place votes. He was outpitched in several statistical categories by New York Mets pitcher Tom Seaver, but Jenkins pitched in hitter-friendly Wrigley Field and Seaver worked in pitcher-friendly Shea Stadium. Jenkins had a wins above replacement (WAR) total of 11.3,[7] compared to Seaver's 10.5. This number not only led all pitchers, it was the highest total in baseball that year. Joe Torre, who won the NL MVP Award that year, had a WAR of less than half of Jenkins' total.

Later career[edit]

In 1972, Jenkins completed his sixth consecutive season with 20 or more wins.[8] By the middle of the following season, Jenkins expressed that he did not feel like playing baseball anymore. Jenkins finished the season, but registered a 14–16 win-loss record. After that season, Jenkins was traded to the Texas Rangers. Texas manager Billy Martin was pleased with the trade, describing Jenkins as a workhorse and a winner.[9] In 1974, Jenkins achieved a personal best 25 wins during the season, setting a Rangers franchise record which still stands.

Jenkins achieved his 250th win against the Oakland Athletics on May 23, 1980. Later that year, during a customs search in Toronto, Jenkins was found possessing 3.0 grams cocaine, 2.2 grams hashish, and 1.75 grams marijuana. In response, on September 8, Commissioner Bowie Kuhn suspended him indefinitely. However, Jenkins' suspension lasted only two weeks before, in an unprecedented action, an independent arbiter reinstated him and he returned to the league.[10] Jenkins was not further punished by MLB for the incident, as he remained active until his retirement following the 1983 season. It has been suggested that this incident delayed his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.[11]

After Jenkins retired from Major League Baseball in 1983, he pitched for two seasons for the London Majors of the Intercounty Major Baseball League, operating in London, Ontario. Jenkins ran for the Ontario Liberal Party in the 1985 Ontario general election, in the riding of Windsor—Riverside, but placed third behind the NDP's Dave Cooke.[12]

Legacy[edit]

Jenkins led the league in wins twice, fewest walks per 9 innings five times, complete games nine times, and home runs allowed seven times. His streak of six straight seasons with 20 or more wins (1967–1972) is the longest streak in the major leagues since Warren Spahn performed the feat between 1956 and 1961.

Jenkins, fellow Cub Greg Maddux, Curt Schilling, and Pedro Martínez are the only major league pitchers to ever record more than 3,000 strikeouts with fewer than 1,000 walks.[13] Only Robin Roberts and Jamie Moyer allowed more home runs over a career. Jenkins achieved his 3000th strikeout on May 25, 1982 against Garry Templeton.

He is considered the anchor of the 12 Black Aces, a group of African American pitchers with at least twenty wins in one season.

Honors and awards[edit]

JenkinsRetiredFlag.png
Ferguson Jenkins's number 31 was retired by the Chicago Cubs in 2009.

In 1974 Jenkins, then with the Texas Rangers, became the first baseball player to win the Lou Marsh Trophy, an award given annually to Canada's top athlete. He was also named the Canadian Press male athlete of the year four times (1967, 1968, 1971, and 1974).

Jenkins was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 1987, and in 1991, became the first Canadian ever elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.[14] The 1991 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was dedicated to Jenkins; he threw out the ceremonial first pitch to conclude the pregame ceremonies. Jenkins was inducted onto Canada's Walk of Fame in 2001. He was appointed the commissioner of the now-defunct Canadian Baseball League in 2003; the league's Jenkins Cup went missing when the league folded and has been missing ever since.[15] He was inducted into the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame in 2004.

On December 17, 1979, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada for being "Canada's best-known major-league baseball player".[16] Governor General Michaëlle Jean officiated at his investiture into the Order, which finally occurred on May 4, 2007: over 27 years after he was appointed.[17] On May 3, 2009, the Cubs retired jersey number 31 in honor of both Jenkins and Greg Maddux.[18] On December 13, 2010, Canada Post announced that Jenkins would be honoured in Canada with his own postage stamp. The stamp would be issued in February 2011 to commemorate Black History Month.[19]

See also[edit]

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ The Fergie Jenkins Foundation Inc
  2. ^ a b c d e Ferguson Jenkins, Jr. Who's Who in Black Canada. Accessed on July 19, 2012.
  3. ^ Ferguson Jenkins Canada's Walk of Fame. Accessed on February 4, 2014.
  4. ^ Pashko, Stanley (1975). Ferguson Jenkins: The Quiet Winner. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. 
  5. ^ Apr 6, 1971, Cardinals at Cubs Play by Play and Box Score, Retrieved from baseball-reference.com
  6. ^ Sep 1, 1971, Expos at Cubs Play by Play and Box Score, Retrieved from baseball-reference.com
  7. ^ a b Fergie Jenkins Statistics, Retrieved from baseball-reference.com
  8. ^ Engelhardt, Gordon (September 7, 2013). "Jenkins, Fingers 'still fit' their legendary status in baseball". Evansville Courier & Press. Retrieved September 21, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Cubs trade Jenkins to Texas for youth". The Rochester Sentinel. October 26, 1973. Retrieved September 21, 2013. 
  10. ^ 1919 Black Sox
  11. ^ Able, Allen (1991-07-15/2006-08-26). "Fergie Jenkins, 1st Cdn. in Baseball Hall of Fame". The Journal (Archives, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation). Retrieved 2007-05-04. 
  12. ^ Nidetz, Steve (May 1, 1985). "Chicago State Has Some Big Plans". Chicago Tribune. 
  13. ^ Nemec, David; Flatow, Scott. Great Baseball Feats, Facts and Figures (2008 ed.). New York, NY: A Signet Book, Penguin Group. p. 88. ISBN 978-0-451-22363-0. 
  14. ^ The Hall of Famers National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Retrieved on 2009-06-17.
  15. ^ http://archive.vancourier.com/issues03/103203/sports.html
  16. ^ "Honours Order of Canada Ferguson Jenkins, C.M.". Members of the Order of Canada. Governor General of Canada. 2006-03-30. Retrieved 2007-05-04. 
  17. ^ "Jenkins gets Order of Canada". The Toronto Star. Canadian Press. 2007-05-04. Retrieved 2007-05-04. [dead link]
  18. ^ "Cubs to Retire No. 31". ESPN.com. Associated Press. March 18, 2009. 
  19. ^ "Ferguson Jenkins gets stamp in Canada". ESPN.com. Retrieved October 30, 2013. 

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Willie Stargell
Major League Player of the Month
July 1971
Succeeded by
Joe Torre
Preceded by
Sandy Hawley
Lou Marsh Trophy winner
1974
Succeeded by
Bobby Clarke