Baseball legend and Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins, a native of Chatham, Ontario, celebrated his 68th birthday recently in a most unique way. Jenkins was on hand to watch as Canada Post conducted a print run-off of the Fergie Jenkins stamp that will commemorate Black History Month.
Jenkins, a member of the Order of Canada is currently the only Canadian inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. His stellar career spanned 19 seasons on the mound for the Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies, Texas Rangers and the Boston Red Sox. He holds the 12th highest strike out total in major league history (3,192) and was awarded the Cy Young trophy in 1971. Besides baseball Jenkins grew up playing hockey and basketball and was once a member of the Harlem Globetrotters before concentrating on baseball.
Jenkins, whose family came to Canada via the Underground Railroad in the 1880s, said his mother “always told me you have to be proud of your heritage. That’s a big plus for me. Seeing all those stamps run off, it’s pretty historical”, he said. “My kids are going to be more proud, I think, that I am. I have three daughters that still live in Ontario”, he added.
The 59-cent stamp depicts a young Jenkins on the pitcher’s mound with the Chicago Cubs set behind a photo of him on the Canadian Walk of Fame in Toronto in 2001. His Order of Canada medal hangs between the images.