Fergie Jenkins (second from right) at the unveiling of Ferguson Jenkins Way at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame on Saturday morning. Photo: Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame
June 17, 2023
By Kevin Glew
Cooperstowners in Canada
The roadway through the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s site in St. Marys, Ont., was officially renamed Ferguson Jenkins Way on Saturday morning prior to the 2023 induction ceremony.
“This is quite an honour to have a street named after you, especially here with the Canadian Hall of Fame” said Jenkins at the ceremony. “I enjoy coming back every year.”
One of the highlights for the new Canadian ball hall inductees each year is having Jenkins present them with their Hall of Fame jacket on stage.
“I enjoy listening to what they [the new inductees] have to say because it’s an honour getting inducted into any kind of Hall of Fame,” said Jenkins on Saturday morning. “And believe me, it’s an honour to put that jacket on these individuals because they’ve earned it.”
Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame board chair Jeremy Diamond emceed the ceremony that was attended by a large crowd that included 2023 inductees Jesse Barfield, Rich Harden, Joe Wiwchar and Denis Boucher, as well as 2020 inductees John Olerud and Jacques Doucet.
Councillor Rob Edney spoke on behalf of town of St. Marys.
The application to rename the road in honour of the Canadian baseball legend was approved by St. Marys town council in late February after a presentation by the Hall’s director of operations, Scott Crawford.
“Ferguson Jenkins exemplifies the spirit and grace of the game through his goodwill,” Crawford wrote in a letter submitted to town councillors before the presentation. “It is not an exaggeration to say that the success of the (Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame) has been aided directly by Fergie’s unwavering support and participation.”
The roadway is the latest in a string of honours bestowed upon Jenkins. Last weekend, an exact replica of the statue of Jenkins outside of Wrigley Field was unveiled at the Civic Centre in his hometown of Chatham, Ont.
Last May, a statue of the seven-time 20-game winner was erected outside of Wrigley Field in Chicago, where he pitched for 10 of his 19 big league seasons.
In December, a snow plow in Chatham was named in his honour and a Marquee Sports Network documentary about his life, Glory and Grief: The Fergie Jenkins Story, won an Emmy Award.
The legendary right-hander, who turned 80 in December, 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. In 1971, he became the first Canadian and first Cubs pitcher to win the National League Cy Young Award.
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.
For his efforts, he was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 1987 and became the first Canadian inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., in 1991.
Jenkins now lives in Texas, but he has family in Chatham and has been returning more regularly to Canada in recent months.