Ferguson Jenkins

Position: Pitcher
Teams: Philadelphia Phillies, 1965-1966; Chicago Cubs, 1966-1973, 1982-1983; Texas Rangers, 1974-1975, 1978-1981; Boston Red Sox, 1976-1977

Ferguson Jenkins
Ferguson Jenkins had perhaps the best
control of any pitcher in the modern era.

A master of control, Fergu­son Jenkins never walked more than 83 hitters in a season. He won 20 games a season for the Cubs from 1967 to 1972, and he is the only pitcher in history to fan more than 3,000 batters while walking fewer than 1,000.

A 6'5" Canadian right-hander out of Chatham, Ontario, Ferguson Arthur Jenkins (born in 1943) was discovered by the Phillies in 1962. He labored in the Philadelphia minor-league organization for three and one-half years before being promoted in 1965. The Phillies used Fergie as a reliever, and after the Chicago Cubs obtained Ferguson from Philadelphia during the 1966 season, they put him in the bullpen. Cubs manager Leo Durocher decided to move Jenkins into the starting rotation at the end of the season, and he responded with two complete games.

In 1967, Jenkins was 20-13 with a 2.80 ERA for the Cubs in the first of six consecutive 20-win seasons. He led the National League with 40 starts in 1968, going 20-15. He tied a major-league record by losing five decisions by the score of 1-0.

Jenkins's best season with the Cubs was 1971, when he led the league with 325 innings pitched and 24 wins and posted a 2.77 ERA to earn the Cy Young Award. He was 20-12 in '72, but slipped to 14-16 in 1973. The Cubs, deciding that they needed a replacement for third baseman Ron Santo, sent Jenkins to Texas for Bill Madlock.

Fergie had one more outstanding season left in his arm. In 1974, he led the American League with a career-high 25 wins, lost 12, and fanned 225. Though he never won 20 games again, he continued to pitch effectively. In '75, he was 17-18 with a 3.93 ERA. Boston traded three players for him that winter, and although Jenkins hurt his foot, he was 12-11 with a 3.27 ERA.

After a run-in with Red Sox manager Don Zimmer in 1977, Fergie was shipped back to Texas. He went 18-8 in 1978, won 16 and 12 games the next two years, and was back with the Cubs in 1982.

Jenkins led the league in strikeouts in 1969 and fanned more than 200 six times. Like other control pitchers, he gave up too many homers; his 484 home runs allowed are the second most in history. Curiously, his highest total allowed in a season, 40, occurred in 1979 when he was with Texas.

Jenkins's career made him a fine Hall of Fame candidate, but an arrest for drug possession in Toronto in 1980 made his election problematic. In 1991, Jenkins was elected to the Hall of Fame by one of the closest margins in Cooperstown history.

Here are Fergu­son Jenkins's major league totals:


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