Drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1963, Jenkins made his major-league debut as a 21-year old in 1965. He was traded the following year to the Chicago Cubs, where he would blossom as one of the best pitchers in Major League Baseball. He posted some of the best numbers of his era in spite of pitching over seven years in a hitter's ballpark (Wrigley Field).
Template:MLB HoF A three-time All-Star, he won the Cy Young Award in 1971. He led the league in wins twice, least walks/9 innings five times, complete games four times, and home runs allowed seven times. His streak of six straight seasons with 20 or more wins (1967-1972) is the longest streak in Major League Baseball since Warren Spahn performed the same feat between 1956 and 1961.
He and fellow Cub Greg Maddux are the only Major League pitchers to ever record more than 3,000 strikeouts with fewer than 1,000 walks. Only Robin Roberts allowed more home runs over a career, however.
In 1974, Jenkins, now with the Texas Rangers, became the first baseball player to win the Lou Marsh Trophy, an award given annually to Canada's top athlete. He was also named the Canadian Press male athlete of the year four times between 1967 and 1974. In 1971 he won the National League's Cy Young Award, the first Chicago Cub pitcher ever to do so.
Ferguson Jenkins was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 1987 and in 1991 became the first Canadian ever elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York. He was inducted into the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame in 2004. He was appointed the commissioner of the Canadian Baseball League in 2003. He has been inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame. In 1979 he was made a Member of the Order of Canada.
Interesting Fergie minutiae
- The Phillies traded both Jenkins (in 1966) and Ryne Sandberg (in 1982) to the Cubs after each had only played one year in the majors. Thus the hapless Phils freely supplied Chicago with two of their greatest players (both have been inducted to the Hall of Fame) of the past half-century.
- A well-publicized incident, involving cannabis, delayed his induction into the Hall of Fame.
- An outstanding all-around athlete, Fergie played basketball as a member of the Harlem Globetrotters.