Saturday, October 20, 2012

#230 Fergie Jenkins - Chicago Cubs

Fergie Jenkins deserves better.  At the time this card was released he had pitched in the big leagues since 1965 and amassed 278 career wins.  C'mon Topps, give him an action shot.  He started 34 games in '82 which gave them plenty of opportunity.  This is Jenkins 17th Topps card and he seems perturbed about having to pose with an empty fist in his glove. 
After calling him Fergie on his rookie card, Topps called him Ferguson for six cards before reverting back to Fergie.

Player:  Fergie Jenkins was signed by the Phillies in '62 but pitched only 14 innings in parts of the '65 and '66 season before he was traded to the Cubs.  The 4/21/66 deal sent Jenkins, John Herrnstein, and Adolfo Phillips to the Windy City in exchange for Bob Buhl and Larry Jackson.
Jenkins pitched in long relief and made 12 starts with a 3.31 ERA across 182 innings to close out the '66 campaign.  He then had a tremendous six year run of 20-win seasons from '67 to '72.  The best year in the bunch came in 1971.  All he did was complete 30 of his 39 starts and log 325 innings which led the NL.  Jenkins wasn't just eating innings, he K'd 263 batters, walked just 37, posted a 2.77 ERA, and won 24 games along the way.  For his efforts he won the NL Cy Young award.
After a 14 win season in '73, the Cubs traded Jenkins to the Rangers for Vic Harris and Bill Madlock.  Fergie had a stellar season for his new club, winning a career best 25 games with a 5 to 1 K/BB ratio.  He had similar stats to his '71 season but this time finished second in the league in CY voting to Catfish Hunter.  Jenkins had a bit of a down year in 1975 but still won 17 games.  His 3.93 ERA was a new high and his 96 ERA+ was the first time his rate had dropped below 101. 
The Rangers traded Jenkins to the Red Sox for three players, but he missed the last month of both the '76 and '77 seasons with injuries.  Boston traded him back to Texas and Jenkins stayed healthy and won 46 games over the next three years.  During the 1980 season he was found with drugs at the Toronto airport, suspended by Commissioner bowie Kuhn, but later reinstated by and independent arbiter. 
Jenkins struggled through the '81 season, posting a 4.50 ERA, easily the worst of his career.  He signed with Cubs in the offseason and the 39 year-old rebounded with 14 wins, a 3.15 ERA in 217 innings.  Jenkins won only six games in '83 despite making 29 starts and having an ERA that hovered around four all year before settling at 4.30. 
Jenkins was released the following spring and retired with a 284-226 record, 3.34 ERA (115 ERA+), and 3192 strikeouts.

Flipside:  Tiny stats!  I've mentioned Jenkins' 278 career wins through the '82 season.  According to Bill James' career assessment tool, Jenkins had a 18% chance after the '82 season of reaching 300 career wins.

Fergie JenkinsOddball:  Jenkins played for the Harlem Globetrotters in the offseason from 1967-69.

When looking at his career as a whole, he was not a great hitter (.165 BA), but he had one heck of a '71 season.  He hit .243 with 6 HR and 7 doubles in 115 at bats.

History:  Jenkins never appeared in the postseason despite his long career.   He ranks 23rd all time in WAR among pitchers with 77.4 and seems to be overlooked when discussing all-time great pitchers.  He along with Greg Maddux, Pedro Martinez, and Curt Schilling are the only pitchers with 3,000+ K's and less than 1,000 walks.  Jenkins was elected to the Hall of Fame in '91. 
Be sure to check out the next post featuring Jenkins' Super Veteran Card.

By the way, you can now follow me on Twitter @989baseball.  Besides notifying followers of new posts, I tend to tweet off-the-wall comments and other things about baseball, sports, and life in general.

1 comment:

  1. Undoubtedly, my favorite pitcher of all-time! It is amazing to think with the amazing string of winning seasons that Fergie out together that he only made the All-Star team 3 times during his career...