Chicago Cubs: “Mental attitude and concentration are the keys to pitching”
Despite now being the Majors, Fergie fed his athletic appetite in the offseason by playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic and touring with the Harlem Globetrotters.
By 1967, his first full season with the Cubs, he was already on his way of becoming a dominant pitcher. That season, at the age of 24, he made his first All-Star Game. He worked three innings, striking out six of the league’s best hitters that included future Hall of Famers Mickey Mantle, Harmon Killebrew, and Rod Carew. His ’67 campaign was also the beginning of his consecutive season streak of winning at least 20 games. A feat that he repeated for six straight years, equaling Mordecai Brown’s Cubs record that stood for over six decades.
A workhorse on the mound, he was also known as being an excellent hitting pitcher. In 1971, he saw the ball well, hitting seven doubles, one triple, six home runs and knocking in 20 runs. During his career, he hit a total of 13 home runs.
1971 was arguably his best year on the mound, as well. He went 24-13 with an ERA of 2.77, tossing 30 complete games. He was as accurate and concise as they come, striking out 263 batters while only walking 37 during his 325 innings pitched that season. He would later be rewarded the National League Cy Young Award, becoming the first Cubs pitcher to ever receive the honor.