January 8, 1991. Chicago Cubs legend Fergie Jenkins was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Jenkins posted a picture on his Facebook this weekend to remember this historic event 31 years later. He became the first Canadian-born baseball player to make it to Cooperstown.
It was his third year on the ballot and he received 342 votes, 77.2 percent, to become part of the 1991 class which included Rod Carew and Gaylord Perry. Both Tony Lazzeri and Bill Veeck, the man who planted the ivy on the Wrigley Field walls, were voted in via Veterans Committee.
Chicago Cubs: Celebrating Fergie Jenkins’ legacy of greatness
Jenkins is considered one of the very best pitchers in Cubs history. He and Greg Maddux (ironically both wore #31) are the two pitchers in franchise history to have their numbers retired at Wrigley Field. Jenkins appeared in 401 of his 664 career MLB games in a Cubs uniform and will always be remembered as a North Sider first. He began his career with the Phillies, spent six years with the Texas Rangers, two with the Boston Red Sox, and pitched in his final two seasons (1982, 1983) back in Chicago.
While it is a shame he never pitched in the postseason, and he spent much of his career on subpar teams, the numbers speak to how great he was. He posted a 3.34 ERA, 3.28 FIP, 1.14 WHIP, 3,192 strikeouts and 997 walks in 4,500 2/3 innings pitched in his MLB career.
In 1970 and 1971 he posted back-to-back seasons with an fWAR over 9.0. His 3,000+ strikeouts and fewer than 1,000 walks is something only a handful of pitchers have accomplished (Maddux being one of them) and he was the first to do so.
The class he was inducted in was a pretty good one too. Carew was one of the best hitters of all time, sporting a lifetime average of .328, and is part of the 3,000 hit club. Perry pitched 22 years in the majors and finished with a 3.11 ERA, 3.534 strikeouts and 314 wins after he pitched his final game at the age of 45.
After 31 years of being in the Hall of Fame, Jenkins will receive another honor this year in the form of a statue at Wrigley Field. This was a long time coming and frankly overdue. He will join the likes of Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Ron Santo and Harry Caray to have statues built around Wrigley Field.