Chicago Cubs: Ranking the Top 10 single-season pitching performances

Kerrry Wood / Mark Prior / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Kerrry Wood / Mark Prior / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Fergie Jenkins – 1971

Spanning an impressive career, Fergie Jenkins pitched for four teams in 19 years, spending 10 years with the Cubs across two separate stints.

Jenkins started 347 games in his Cubs career in those ten seasons, but no single campaign may be more impressive than his 1971 showing. It was a special year for Jenkins, as he made 39 starts and finished 24-13 with a 2.77 ERA.

To boot, Jenkins beat out the likes of Tom Seaver, Dock Ellis and Bob Gibson for the National League Cy Young Award. He finished with 17 of the 24 total first-place votes, capping off a magical year for the right-hander.

Jenkins’ season was impressive, to say the least. He finished above every player in the league in total WAR, posting an 11.8 clip. The big righty also led the entire league in complete games. And we’re not talking about a handful of efforts where he went the distance. He did so a staggering 30 times.

Fans knew his year was bound to be amazing, as, on Opening Day against the St. Louis Cardinals, Jenkins twirled a complete-game 10-inning spectacle, allowing just seven hits and surrendering a mere one run.

Of his next 10 starts following his Opening Day gen, Jenkins pitched nine complete games, including eight straight. Arguably, Jenkins’ best game of the year came on May 8. In what turned out to be a complete game shutout by Jenkins, he struck out 12 surrendering four hits and zero walks.

While Jenkins finished many incredible seasons, 1971 will always remain as the best season of his storied career.