By Nabiha Asim
Baseball fans filled Goodwin Auditorium last Thursday to spend an evening with former Major League Baseball player, Ferguson “Fergie” Jenkins.
Jenkins named 1971 the best year in his career, when he became the first Cubs pitcher and the first Canadian to win the National League Cy Young Award. Other than being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991, Jenkins said his biggest accomplishment was met when he got traded to the Chicago Cubs.
“To win 100 games, I thought as a good accomplishment because a lot of guys will try it and they just don’t succeed,” Jenkins said.
Before he started pitching for the Cubs, Jenkins, wanting to be a professional athlete, signed with the Philadelphia Phillies right out of high school.
“Baseball is a situation where you can’t take a youngster and throw him with men. You want him to grow up quick, but it doesn’t always work out that way. You like to be with your own age group and have some success. I just think that the Phillies were testing my ability,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins goes on to describe how he was able to reach a feat that only three other pitchers in major league history have been able to do.
“Over the course of my career, I took 4,800 innings in 18 years. To me, I thought it was a lot of innings…so I accomplished that in 1982 at the end of my career. I had 3,000 strikeouts in less than a 1000 walks…It takes a lot of work. You got to stay healthy, you have to go out there and toil as much as you can and try to put the innings together,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins shared stories of his accomplishments, roommates, Ernie Banks and how baseball has changed over time, making some fans recall their childhood baseball memories.
“I watched him when I was younger, my love for baseball, and my brother who is mister crazy sports fan, kind of brought us out here to see him,” Joanne Ehrhardt from Lisle said.
Ehrhardt’s brother, Ernie Maurizi from Lisle, said he learned a different side of Jenkins, one aside from what is seen on the television screen and in record books.
“He is a humorous and engaging person. You don’t know what their personalities are like when you see them play; you don’t know what they’re like as people. He seemed like a really nice guy and really down to earth and that was kind of nice to see that side,” Maurizi said.