Mar 26, 2024 12:00 PM
Ferguson Jenkins

Ferguson Arthur Jenkins, “Fergie”, was the first Chicago Cub pitcher and first Canadian to win the Cy Young Award. He won 20 games in his first full season with the Chicago Cubs, earning a second-place finish in the 1967 National League Cy Young Award voting, an award he would later win in 1971; he was also named the 1971 National League TSN Pitcher of the Year. The 1967 season began a stretch of six straight 20-win seasons, and seven out of eight seasons from 1967-1974. Fergie was a premier pitcher for 19 seasons, primarily with the Chicago Cubs (1966-1973, 1982-1983), the Texas Rangers (1974-1975, 1978-1981) and the Boston Red Sox (1976-1977). In 1974 while with the Texas Rangers, he had acareer-high 25 wins and became the first baseball player to win the Lou Marsh Trophy, an award given each year to Canada’s top athlete.

Fergie was also awarded the comeback player of the year by MLB. His 25 wins are still the all-time franchise record for the Texas Rangers. He led the league in complete games four times, games started three times and two times in wins. At the 1967 All-Star Game, Fergie struck out six of the top hitters in the American League: Harmon Killebrew, Tony Conigliaro, Mickey Mantle, Jim Fregosi, Rod Carew and Tony Olivia. His six strikeouts in an All-Star game is a record which still stands today and he is tied with Carl Hubbell. Fergie was the first pitcher to end his career with at least 3,000 strikeouts and fewer than 1,000 walks. This feat has only been accomplished by four pitchers in the history of baseball which include: Fergie, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling and Greg Maddux.

Ferguson Jenkins retired with a record of 284 wins, 267 complete games and 3,192 strikeouts. In 1991, he was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, becoming the first Canadian to ever be inducted. In 2007, the country of Canada awarded Fergie the Order of Canada medal—one of the highest honors a Canadian citizen can receive, and issued a postage stamp with his likeness, which is still in circulation.

In 2022, the Chicago Cubs erected a statue of Fergie outside of Wrigley Field next to his teammates Ernie Banks, Billy Williams and Ron Santo. Also that year, he along with the Cubs Organization and Marquee Sports, created a documentary on his life entitled, “Glory & Grief: The Ferguson Jenkins Story”. This outstanding work won an Emmy Award. In 2023, his hometown of Chatham, Ontario, erected a statue of Fergie in front of their City Hall. Fergie dedicated the statue to his parents, Dolores and Ferguson Jenkins senior. In February of 2023, the Canadian baseball Hall of Fame renamed the street leading up to the Museum, Ferguson Jenkins Way.

Displaying his great athletic talent, he played three seasons of professional basketball with the Harlem Globetrotters during the baseball off-season, joining the likes of Wilt Chamberlain and Bob Gibson. Fergie's favorite sport was hockey and he signed an NHL contract before deciding on baseball. Millions of dollars have been raised by Fergie for hundreds of different charities and causes, following his baseball career. He even donated a year of his salary to a charity for the blind in honor of his mother Dolores, who was blind.

Ferguson Arthur Jenkins is currently a team ambassador for the Chicago Cubs where he enjoys a close relationship with the organization. He continues to be heavily involved with the game of baseball and returns to Cooperstown annually for the induction ceremony weekend, and travels yearly to the Canadian Hall of Fame as well where he is tasked with the honor of placing the blazers on the new inductees.