February 21, 2023
By Kevin Glew
Cooperstowners in Canada
A Fergie Jenkins statue will be unveiled in Chatham, Ont., on June 10.
Darrin Canniff, the mayor of Chatham, Ont., Jenkins’ hometown, announced on Tuesday that a full-size replica of the bronze statue of Jenkins outside of Wrigley Field in Chicago has been gifted to his city and will be unveiled on June 10 at 3 p.m. E.T. in a ceremony in front of the Civic Centre.
The event will be open to the public.
“Fergie embodies a lot of the great qualities we see throughout Chatham-Kent: tenacity, kindness, hard work, and a will to succeed,” said Canniff in a press release. “We’re thankful for the generosity of the anonymous donor and FirstOntario Credit Union, the Cubs Organization, and of course, Fergie himself. For many years to come, this statue will serve as a great reminder of what Jenkins has done both for the game of baseball and for the community of Chatham-Kent.”
Jenkins, a longtime Chicago Cubs ace, has been inducted into both the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He feels honoured that a statue will be coming to his hometown, where he honed his skills as a youngster.
“Having this statue unveiled in my hometown will be very special,” said Jenkins in a press release. “I’m very proud to be from Chatham, it is a great town and I’m excited for everyone to get a chance to see it. Thank you to Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts for allowing us to cast the exact same statue that sits outside of Wrigley Field.”
The sculpture was done by artist Lou Cella.
The press release from the Municipality of Chatham-Kent says the town will receive the sculpture thanks to the “support from both an anonymous donor and a new community partner, FirstOntario Credit Union.” FirstOntario will also cover the costs of the ceremony.
“FirstOntario is proud to join the community and play a part in providing this recognition for baseball hero and legend Fergie Jenkins,” said Lloyd Smith, CEO, FirstOntario Credit Union. “We are committed to our members’ financial health and our communities, and look forward to continuing to grow the credit union difference in the Chatham-Kent region.”
A statue of Jenkins was erected outside of Wrigley Field on May 20, 2022. The legendary right-hander, who turned 80 in December, is the first Canadian to be honoured with a statue outside a major league park.
The durable Jenkins pitched 10 seasons with the Cubs and holds franchise pitching records in WAR (53.1), starts (347) and strikeouts (2,038). While with the Cubs from 1967 to 1972, Jenkins registered six consecutive 20-win seasons and never tossed less than 20 complete games in any of those campaigns.
The Canadian pitching legend, who also toed the rubber for the Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox, retired with 284 career wins and as the only pitcher in major league history to record more than 3,000 strikeouts (3,192), while allowing fewer than 1,000 walks (997). Greg Maddux, Curt Schilling and Pedro Martinez have since joined that elite club.
Jenkins now lives in Texas, but he has family in Chatham and has been returning more regularly to his hometown in recent months.