Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Take him or leave him - Ferguson Jenkins

A few weeks ago, I put up a post here talking about players that I didn't really have strong feelings about.  I invited anyone who wanted to write up a guest post about any of the players and help me get a better feel for why that player is great and deserves my collecting attention.  Well, I am happy to announce that the first response is in!!  

Today's player appreciation post is from reader Gary (no blog) and the player is Ferguson Jenkins.  Prior to reading Gary's post, I always thought of Fergie as a dependable but not spectacular, borderline HOFer.  He rarely had an expression on his face and that might have influenced my opinion of him.  Anyway, let's see what Gary has to say!!

Ferguson Jenkins was a boss.  You may not have known that, but he was!!  First, the basics of his career, then some stories that will convince you!

Born in Canada of all places, Jenkins was a born athlete.  He excelled in Hockey and Basketball especially, but his mom consistently pushed him toward baseball.  Super interesting, his mom was blind!  I wonder what it was about baseball that caught her attention.  Maybe Hockey was too cold.  And maybe basketball was too loud.  All I know is if I was blind, baseball might be one of the sports I would enjoy most too.  Outside, in good weather and the game is slow enough paced that the folks you are with would probably be good company.  The game is slow paced too, so might be easier to keep up with.  Whatever the reason, baseball should thank Mrs. Jenkins, because she gifted the sport with a great one!!

Fergie was signed first by the Phillies in 1962, but not much happened until they traded him to the Cubs in 1966.  Then he took off!  From 1967-1974, Jenkins won at least 20 games every year but one.  He was the Cy Young winner in 1971 and got votes lots of years.

Jenkins was the first player to record 3,000 strikeouts with less than 1,000 walks.  And he threw 267 complete games, which is unthinkable now, only 40 years later.

After pitching in the U.S. for so long, Jenkins finally got the chance to pitch in his own country as a member of the Texas Rangers twice.  He lost 5-4 in June of 1980, and threw a complete-game 6-1 win on Aug. 26, 1981, both at Toronto's old Exhibition Stadium.  Must have been a great experience for him.

Jenkins also played two years with the Harlem Globetrotters. Told you he was an athlete!!!  He played offseasons with them from 1967-1969.

And he loved the game enough that he played in veterans leagues until at least 1990.

There were some extreme lows along the way as well.  Jenkins lost an ex wife in a car accident 4 days after he joined the Hall of Fame.  A few years later, his fiance killed herself and Jenkins' daughter a few years later.  But he kept his head up and maintained a positive attitude through the tough times.

My 2 favorite Jenkins quotes, because he seemed to hate managers:
“Well, in 1966 I met the devil and his name was Leo Durocher,” in reference to the longtime Cubs manager.
“When I landed in Texas, I got to meet the devil’s sidekick, and his name was Billy Martin."

So, Diamond King, have I convinced you to have an appreciation for the great Ferguson Jenkins??  He never did grace one of the old Diamond Kings cards in early Donruss, his career was winding down about then.  But he should have been!!

Anyway, there are probably a lot of other things that could be said about Ferguson Jenkins, but I will leave you with my favorite Fergie from my collection (too lazy to scan, I have this card, but not this exact one):

Thanks a ton Gary!!  I definitely got a bunch of info about Jenkins that I did not know.  I dimly remember that he had played for the globetrotters (cool pic, bo knows before bo?) and of course that he was from Canada.  Loved the story about his mother and that he hated (or at least liked to make fun of) managers.  I'll let it percolate a little, but I think it is fair to say that knowing more will lead me to collect Ferguson Jenkins more in the future.

And if anyone out there reading would like to do one of these writeups and help me appreciate a player you love, feel free.  Below are the players I thought of, but if you want to do one that is not on the list, let me know!!

Jose Altuve
James Shields
David Price
Manny Machado
Fergie Jenkins - taken
Cole Hamels
Alan Trammel
Don Sutton - taken
Roy Halladay
Andrew McCutchen
Chris Sale - taken
Carlos Beltran
Barry Larkin
Mike Mussina
Matt Holliday
George Springer
Gary Sanchez
Freddie Freeman
Nolan Arenado
Charlie Blackmon


  1. I'm really hoping that Collecting Cutch takes you up on this and writes about.. Gary Sanchez or somebody, lol.

  2. That photo of him wearing the Globetrotters uniform, holding a baseball, and wearing a baseball glove is awesome! They need to make a card using that photo.