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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

FERGUSON JENKINS

Inducted in 1987

Member Details

Date of Birth: December 13, 1943
Place of Birth: Chatham, Ontario
Sport: Baseball
Member Category: Athlete

Career Highlights

1967,1968,1971,1974

Lionel Conacher Trophy

1971

Cy Young Award

1974

Lou Marsh Trophy

American League Comeback Player of the Year

Canadian Male Athlete of the Year (4 times) 

1980

Named to the order of Canada

1987

Inducted into the Canadian Baseball Sports Hall of Fame 

Honoured Member FERGUSON JENKINS
Inspire

Story

It used to be a rarity for a Canadian to crack the lineup of a major league baseball team, and even more uncommon for a northerner to shine in this American-dominated sport. Right-handed pitcher Ferguson Jenkins of Chatham, Ontario, was just such an anomaly; he took both the American and National Leagues by storm as he toured the majors for 19 years. Jenkins signed his first pro contract with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1962. After three years in the minors, he was called up as a relief pitcher for the Phillies in 1965, but before he had a chance to unleash his burgeoning talent, the team traded him to the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs made Jenkins a starting pitcher in 1966, and the young Canadian was soon hurling his way into the record books. Jenkins won at least 20 games in seven of his 19 seasons on the mound, six of which were consecutive years between 1967 and 1972. In 1971, his best season, he led the National League with a 24-13 record, 263 strikeouts, and a 2.77 ERA. He received the Cy Young award that year as the best pitcher in the game. When "Fergie" failed to win 20 games in 1973, however, he was traded to the Texas Rangers, the last place team in the Western Division. The Cubs must have been kicking themselves when, in his first season with the Rangers, Fergie bounced back with 25 wins and only 12 losses. The Rangers finished in second place, and Jenkins was dubbed American League comeback player of the year. Fergie spent 1976 and 1977 with the Boston Red Sox before returning to Texas for three more seasons. He played his last two seasons with the Cubs, retiring in 1983. Known as one of the best control pitchers in history, Jenkins's outstanding record includes more than 3,000 strikeouts and fewer than 1,000 walks, a rare combination of power and control. He was also only the fourth pitcher in history to have won more than 100 games in both the American and National Leagues. His career 284 wins against 226 losses, as well as his ERA of 3.31 are remarkable when one considers that he played 12 of his 19 seasons at Wrigley Field and Fenway park, both of which are known as hitters' ballparks. In addition, many of his losses can be partly attributed to his team's hitting ability. Jenkins never played for a pennant-winning club, and his team was shut out in 77 of his starting games. Fergie was four times named Canada's top male athlete of the year and was the first baseball player to receive the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada's outstanding athlete, in 1974. He received the Order of Canada in 1980 and was honoured by the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 1987. In 1991, he became the first Canadian to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.


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