Chicago Cubs History: Ferguson Jenkins Joins the Ranks

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Chicago Cubs History: Ferguson Jenkins Joins the Ranks
View of Canadian baseball player Ferguson Jenkins, pitcher for the Chicago Cubs, on the pitcher's mound at Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois, 1972. (Photo by Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images)

The Chicago Cubs have announced that former pitcher Ferguson “Fergie” Jenkins will be joining Cubs legends Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, Billy Williams, and Harry Caray outside the Friendly Confines. Come opening day 2022 Jenkins will officially be honored in the Chicago Cubs history books when the Cubs unveil his statue outside of Wrigley Field.

Chicago Cubs History: “The Other Four”

Jenkins will be joining four other Cubs legends outside Wrigley, including three Hall of Fame players and one of the greatest announcers in Chicago Cubs history. With Chicago, it is slightly surprising that they are adding their fifth statue next season. Although the first rose in 1999 with the legendary broadcaster Harry Caray. Nine years later in 2008, Caray was joined by none other than Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks. Flash forward two years and the 1961 Rookie of the Year Billy Williams joined Caray and Banks. Come 2011, a third legend was added to the mix when former player and broadcaster Ron Santo joined the party.

The Legend Fergie Jenkins

Fergie Jenkins broke into professional baseball in 1965, becoming the first Canadian MLB player, paving the way for players such as Larry Walker, Joey Votto, Justin Morneau, and former Cub Ryan Dempster.

In 1965 Jenkins debuted with the Phillies as a relief pitcher. After just eight games in Philadelphia, he was traded to the Cubs. In 1967, his first season as a full-time starter, he recorded 20 wins, with 20 complete games, while finishing second in Cy Young voting. Next, flash forward to 1972 when he would win his first and only Cy Young award.

After eight seasons in Chicago Jenkins was traded to Texas, then Boston, then back to Texas, before spending his final two seasons back in Chicago. Through 10 total seasons with the Cubs, he pitched in 401 games, posting 167 wins with 154 complete games and 2,038 strikeouts.

Jenkins had an illustrious baseball career headlined by joining MLB’s 3,000 strikeout club, then being inducted into both the MLB and Canadian sports Halls of Fame, while eventually having his number (31) retired by the Chicago Cubs. 40 years after his retirement, Fergie still lives in the hearts of Cubs fans and Canadian baseball fans alike.

Off the Field

Jenkins was a specimen on the field but he had his share of troubles off the field. In 1980 Jenkins was traveling to Toronto where a customs search found him in possession of 3.0 grams of cocaine, 2.2 grams of hashish, and 1.75 grams of marijuana. In turn, this resulted in him receiving an indefinite suspension from baseball, although said suspension only lasted two weeks.

The incident was undoubtedly the sole reason Fergie was not a first-ballot Hall of Famer, as baseball fans know how the committee wants players to act off the field… just ask Curt Schilling.

“Meet Me At The Fergie Statue!”

Upon news breaking of Fergie getting the long-awaited statue, Jenkins said in a statement on his Twitter account, “I am deeply honored to share this with my family, friends, and teammates. But most of all I share this with you, the Cub fans, and I say to you ‘Meet me at the Fergie Statue’ next year so we can all celebrate together.” Although Fergie has not attended the past two home openers at Wrigley due to the Covid-19 pandemic he was at the Texas Rangers home opener. In 2022, however, the Opening Day ceremonies will be more special.

Hopefully, Wrigley will be packed, life might be back to normal, and Fergie and his statue will be forever etched into Chicago Cubs History. “Meet me at the Fergie Statue!”


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main image credit Embed from Getty Images

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