Ferguson Arthur "Fergie" Jenkins CM (born December 13 1943 in Chatham, Ontario, Canada) is a right-handed former pitcher in Major League Baseball. He was a three-time All-Star, winner of the 1971 Cy Young Award, and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991. To date, he is the last non 300 game winning starting pitcher to be elected by the writers. Jenkins spent most of his career playing for the Chicago Cubs, but also played for the Philadelphia Phillies, Texas Rangers, and Boston Red Sox.
In , he was signed by Philadelphia Phillies
scout Tony Lucadello
. Jenkins made his major-league debut as a 22-year old in as a relief pitcher. He was traded the following year to the Chicago Cubs
, along with Adolpho 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, but his ERA dropped to 2.63 and strikeout total increased to 260. In 1968 Jenkins lost five 1~0 games.
Jenkins had his best season in , playing in the All-Star Game
, finishing seventh in MVP voting and winning the National League Cy Young Award
. He did this despite the fact New York Mets
pitcher Tom Seaver
had a higher winning percentage, fewer losses, fewer hits allowed per nine innings, more strikeouts, more strikeouts per nine innings, more shutouts, and a lower earned run average than did Jenkins. It is generally conceded that Jenkins's accolades for 1971 (arguably Seaver's best season) were in recognition of his pitching performance that were overlooked the previous four seasons. Jenkins won 20 games or more and struck out more than 200 batters each of these seasons while averaging 305 innings pitched and throwing 87 complete games (16 of them being shutouts).
Jenkins was the first Cubs pitcher and the first Canadian ever to win the Cy Young. He received 17 of 24 first place votes. Jenkins also posted a .478 slugging percentage, hitting six home runs and batting in twenty runs in just 115 at-bats.
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. 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.
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.
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 (with whom he shared the jersey number 31), 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. Only Robin Roberts allowed more home runs over a career. Jenkins achieved his 3000th strikeout on May 25, 1982 against Garry Templeton.
In Jenkins, then with the Texas Rangers (who had acquired him from the Cubs the previous off-season for two players, one of whom was future four-time batting champion Bill Madlock), became the first baseball player to win the Lou Marsh Trophy, an award given annually to Canada's top athlete (he won a career-high, and still a Rangers franchise record, 25 games). He was also named the Canadian Press male athlete of the year four times between and 1974.
In late 1980, during a customs search in Toronto, Ontario
, Jenkins was found possessing 3.0 grams cocaine
, 2.2 grams hashish
, and 1.75 grams marijuana
. In response, Commissioner Bowie Kuhn
suspended him indefinitely. Jenkins missed the rest of the season, but in an unprecedented action, an independent arbiter reinstated him and he returned to the game, playing until his retirement following the season. It has been suggested that this incident delayed his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Ferguson Jenkins was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame
in , and in became the first Canadian ever elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame
in Cooperstown, New York
. He was inducted into the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame
in . He was appointed the commissioner of the now-defunct Canadian Baseball League
in 2003. Jenkins has been inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame
. On December 17
, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada
for being "Canada's best-known major-league baseball player". Governor General Michaëlle Jean
officiated at his investiture into the Order, which finally occurred on May 4
: over 27years after he was appointed.
References and notes