Fergie Jenkins: Chatham-Kent Sports Black History Month

Fergie Jenkins – Photo by Ian Kennedy/CKSN.ca

When people think of famous Canadian Black athletes, Fergie Jenkins is likely near the top of any list.

Born and raised in Chatham, Ontario, Fergie Jenkins, who is now 70-years -old, was the first Canadian inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, and was a three-time MLB All-Star, and won the National League Cy Young award in 1971. He also won the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s top athlete in 1974, and was later inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.

During his 19-year Major League Baseball career, Jenkins, a pitcher, gained the respect of teammates and the sporting world alike. His number 31 was retired by the Chicago Cubs in 2009, and in 2011, Jenkins was honoured by Canada Post by creating his own postage stamp for Black History Month.

Jenkins’ father, Ferguson Jenkins Sr. was an immigrant from Barbados, while his mother Delores, came from ancestors who escaped slavery in the Southern United States via the Underground Railroad, before settling in Southwestern Ontario.

With 284 career wins, 3,192 Major League strikeouts, and as a member of both the Baseball, and Canadian Baseball Hall’s of Fame, Jenkins is truly a baseball legend. More importantly, he is also a role model for young baseball players and Black athletes in Chatham-Kent and across North America.

Jenkins is known as one of the “12 Black Aces,” a group of African American MLB pitchers who have won at least 20 games in a single season.

In Chatham, the main ball diamond is now adorned with the name, “Fergie Jenkins Field,” while Jenkins also heads up the Fergie Jenkins Foundation which supports nearly 400 charities across North American and aims to serve humanitarian need through sport.

CKSN will continue to highlight Chatham-Kent’s famous and influential black athletes and teams to celebrate February as Black History Month.

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