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Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Chicago Cubs Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins is Getting a Statue at Wrigley Field!

In the pantheon of Chicago Cubs pitchers through the decades, very few can match the dominance and longevity of Fergie Jenkins. That’s probably why he’s a Hall of Famer, and roundly considered one of the best – if not the best – pitchers in franchise history. He’s certainly among the best starting pitchers in baseball history.

For those reasons, it is wholly appropriate that the man is going to be forever immortalized at Wrigley Field, where he pitched so well for so long:

Fergie will join Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Ron Santo, and Harry Caray with statues at Wrigley Field.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 06, 2021 at 02:37 PM | 17 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cubs, fergie jenkins

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   1. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 06, 2021 at 04:00 PM (#6012059)
   2. Zonk Can Sell Culture Posted: April 06, 2021 at 04:24 PM (#6012065)
I'm happy for Fergie - though, I mostly know him from re-tellings, a brief swan song, and stats.

But - it feels... odd... that the Cubs have basically gone all-out in honoring members of an iteration most famous for... not winning the division.

Don't get me wrong, even though they came before me -- I treasure the mythos of Banks, Santo, Jenkins, and Williams (and hey, go ahead and add the original Hundley, Beckert, Kenny Holztman, etc into the mix too!)

But... it's just weird. There are a lot of Cub luminaries prior to the 60s Cubs I "treasure" as much as any fan who didn't live through the days can.... Gabby Hartnett... Mordecai Brown.... Rajah... even Jolly Cholly Grimm or Stan Hack or Hack Wilson.

I just cannot help but think... Why not a Sandberg? Is it too early to think about a Rizzo statue?

Etc...

The 60s Cubs fetish just feels.... odd.
   3. donlock Posted: April 06, 2021 at 05:40 PM (#6012081)
This man is a Canadian. His children have the same last name as he does. Are there no American born former Cubs? Just kidding’ . Great news.
   4. Walt Davis Posted: April 06, 2021 at 06:03 PM (#6012088)
#2 ... what can I say? We loved that team and hadn't had much to cheer in 35 years (not that I was around for any of that). Also a boomer thing.

One of the first things Dallas Green wanted to do was expunge that lovable loser attitude. But of course he didn't win it all.

Anyway ... I'm confident Sandberg will get his statue in time. Now that Fergie has broken the "Cub lifer or close enough" barrier, we might get a Dawson too (boy did we love that guy). With the ball really rolling, these things can be hard to stop.

It didn't occur to me until the other day when we were discussing team HoFs and such that the Cubs really ignore the pre-war teams. There aren't any retired numbers (or plaques as far as I know) for Brown, Alexander, Tinker, Evers, Chance, Hartnett, Wilson, Hack. I understand not putting up a Hartnett statue at this point (I understand not putting up statues period) but I don't see why we don't retire their numbers.

As to Rizzo -- good or bad, so far the Cubs have drawn their honor line with HoFers, although I think Santo's number was retired before he made it. So Rizzo has a long way to go and probably won't get there. But I suspect that at some point there will be a statue (or hologram!) of the 2016 WS celebration or similar.
   5. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: April 06, 2021 at 07:21 PM (#6012105)
It didn't occur to me until the other day when we were discussing team HoFs and such that the Cubs really ignore the pre-war teams. There aren't any retired numbers (or plaques as far as I know) for Brown, Alexander, Tinker, Evers, Chance, Hartnett, Wilson, Hack. I understand not putting up a Hartnett statue at this point (I understand not putting up statues period) but I don't see why we don't retire their numbers.


Most of them didn't have numbers.
   6. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: April 06, 2021 at 07:23 PM (#6012107)
   7. Brian C Posted: April 06, 2021 at 07:41 PM (#6012113)
I think most or all of those guys have plaques now behind the right-field bullpen along the walkway that used to be for bleacher ticket-holders only. There are some memorabilia cases down there too. When the bullpens were built out a few years ago under the bleachers, they opened those walkways to all ticket holders, except for the gate at Sheffield an Waveland that is still bleacher access only.

Anyway, I like Fergie as much as the next guy who's too young to have seen him pitch, but a statue seems like a bit much. Statues seem like they should be for the truly iconic franchise guys and I'm not sure that he even comes close to that. Banks, of course - if they only had one statue, Banks is the obvious choice. Sandberg? Probably should get one in due time. Santo is a borderline case but probably wouldn't have gotten the recognition without being a beloved broadcaster also. Jenkins ... well no, not really. Seems like the retired number was due honor for his accomplishments.

As for Rizzo, he seems destined for a retired number and the "former player in the booth" gig if he wants it. Hopefully he's better at it than Ryan Dempster, who's clearly being groomed to replace Deshaies but is a nearly unbearable nuisance.

Speaking of broadcasters, any opinions yet on Sciambi replacing Len? I sorta miss Len still. Boog is a pro but it still feels like he's getting comfortable, and he and Deshaies haven't really clicked yet. I'd like it if he was a little less of a pro, to be honest - he sounds a little uptight, like he's doing a national ESPN game instead of a local team broadcast. He just needs to relax a bit, be more conversational and less Announcer Guy. And dear god, does he care too much about fans catching balls in the stands. But time will tell.
   8. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 06, 2021 at 09:29 PM (#6012147)
Here is a 2013 ranking of MLB statues and the pitchers are:

Smokey Joe Williams (PIT)
Satchel Paige (PIT)
Hal Newhouser (DET)
Joe Nuxhall (CIN)
Warren Spahn (ATL)
Phil Niekro (ATL)
Bob Gibson (STL)
Jim Palmer (BAL)
Walter Johnson (WSN)
Billy Pierce (CHW)
Juan Marichal (SFG)
Steve Carlton (PHI)
Robin Roberts (PHI)
Don Larsen (NYY)
Nolan Ryan (TEX)
Bob Feller (CLE)

16 in all. Meanwhile, I count 62 hitters (not counting owners, broadcasters, managers, fans)
   9. Walt Davis Posted: April 06, 2021 at 09:46 PM (#6012153)
I agree Fergie is a bit out of character among that group although you can argue he deserves it as much as Billy. Another thing is that all of those guys hung around and continued to hang around officially or unofficially with the Cubs after their careers so they've continued to ingratiate themselves with the fans and it is a bit more than just their great careers. Even Fergie clearly feels more a Cub than a Red Sox or Ranger.

Is Fergie the first Canadian player with a statue?
   10. Brian C Posted: April 06, 2021 at 09:57 PM (#6012157)
Even Fergie clearly feels more a Cub than a Red Sox or Ranger.

That's definitely true although when I lived in Dallas in the early aughts he was a semi-prominent presence for a Rangers franchise that had very little of a past worth celebrating at that time. But along those lines, I also don't remember Fergie being much of a presence around the Cubs in the 80s and 90s when I was a kid and watching almost every day. Williams was much more of a presence then, as I recall.

Seems like there was a Fergie-surgence with the Cubs maybe 15-20 years ago, maybe even more recently. It's possible that he was always around and I just have forgotten, but it's also possible that he has a much more "beloved old Cub" aura to younger generations of Cubs fans than he does to me, especially since Ernie and Santo are dead and Fergie seems like he's become the go-to for boomer Cubs memories.
   11. Walt Davis Posted: April 06, 2021 at 10:24 PM (#6012164)
Well, Fergie was still playing for the Cubs in 83. Also as I mentioned, Green was trying to get rid of that image and the fascination with the 69 Cubs so Fergie might not have felt very welcome just after his retirement. (speculation on my part) The Rangers hired Fergie as a pitching coach in the late 80s and he owns(owned?) a ranch in Oklahoma (per his SABR bio) so that explains the Texas connection around then. He may have been disappointed the Cubs weren't offering him a coaching spot.

His SABR bio points out a good bit of tragedy in his life around that time. He got remarried in 1988 but she died in a car accident shortly after that. He was going to take a coaching position in the Reds' organization and was engaged in 1992 but his fiancee killed herself and his 3-year-old daughter.
   12. Rennie's Tenet Posted: April 06, 2021 at 11:33 PM (#6012176)
Smokey Joe Williams (PIT)
Satchel Paige (PIT)


I believe the Pirates Negro League statues were removed and sold.
   13. Snowboy Posted: April 07, 2021 at 01:51 PM (#6012234)
Is Fergie the first Canadian player with a statue?

For baseball? Yes.
That 2013 list is neat, thanks. I love the 2017 statue of Pete Rose @GABP.
The Jays should erect a Joe Carter statue. I would chose the moment coming down the first base line, arms raised, looking over his shoulder. I'd put it outside Gate 6 the main ticket gate that also gives a photo op of the CN Tower, although the less used pedestrian square in front of Gates 10&11; would also work. I'd make it lifesize, but placed on a two foot concrete pedestal, with a plaque saying "Touch 'em all, Joe! You'll never hit a bigger homerun in your life" on one of the four sides. Soon everyone who went to a Jays game would have a pic of themselves with this statue.
   14. Howie Menckel Posted: April 07, 2021 at 02:30 PM (#6012236)
Well, I remember the 1969 Cubs VERY fondly.
:)

Fergie was traded in 1973, 1975, and 1977. might sound like a ne'er-do-well, but the team that dealt him in 1975 - the Rangers - made a trade to get him back in 1977. and the team that traded him in 1973 - the Cubs - re-signed him as a free agent in 1981.

167-132, 3.20 ERA with Cubs (2 tours)
93-72, 3.56 ERA with Rangers (2 tours)
22-21, 3.47 ERA with Red Sox
2-1, 2.45 ERA with Phillies (1965-66 cups of coffee)

he not only pitched for the Cubs in 1982-83 to wrap things, he wasn't released in 1984 until March 19.

a shame he wasn't around with that memorable 1984 team. the Cubs' 5th-best starter was Chuck Rainey, who was dealt to Oakland at the All-Star break for grizzled swipe-sacker Davey Lopes. That left washed-up 33-year-old Dick Ruthven in the 5-hole.

"It was inevitable," Jenkins said of his release. "The Cubs have young pitchers they're going to take a look at, and my performance last year wasn't that great. I played 22 years and it's been a lot of fun. But there's a time and a place to say, 'Hey, it's all done.'"

from his SABR bio:

"I learned early on that life is fleeting. I buried a mother when she was young, fifty-two. I buried a wife when she was very young, only thirty-two. I buried a daughter when she was only three. I buried a close friend of mine who was in her thirties. I buried my dad who was eighty-nine. In my life I’ve been a part of many funerals. At one point I told a reporter I should be in a rubber room.”
   15. Zonk Can Sell Culture Posted: April 07, 2021 at 03:45 PM (#6012247)
If memory serves - and not direct memory, but just reading since - I think Jenkins had a drug case that finally got settled in his last season (basically, charges dismissed). And I know I read that he made a bit of a splash by suing MLB when he got suspended when originally charged. It was all over, IIRC, what amounts to a friggin dime bag of pot.

But in any case, I got the distinct impression he got somewhat blackballed by MLB for getting the arbiter's appeal to go in his favor...

This, of course, was around the same time period the owners under Peter Ueberroth were also illegally colluding to squash free agency...
   16. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 07, 2021 at 04:40 PM (#6012268)
I'm happy for Fergie - though, I mostly know him from re-tellings, a brief swan song, and stats.

But - it feels... odd... that the Cubs have basically gone all-out in honoring members of an iteration most famous for... not winning the division.


To offer a non-Sabermetric reason, the 1967-69 Cubs were the teams that essentially brought Wrigley Field back to life after playing Rip Van Winkle for the previous two decades.** The first time I ever visited the park was for a 1967 Labor Day doubleheader against the Dodgers, and when the Cubs won the first game on a Banks walkoff HR, you'd have thought that the Cubs had just won the World Series. What the Red Sox of the late 60's were to Boston, so the 1967-69 Cubs were to Chicago's North Side. Hard as it may be to believe, for the previous 16 years, it was the White Sox who'd owned Chicago.

** Between 1966 and 1969, the Cubs' home attendance went from 635,891 to 1,674,993.
   17. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: April 07, 2021 at 05:51 PM (#6012292)
So when does Rick Reuschel get his statue?

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