Sunday, August 25, 2019

1981 Topps Fergie Jenkins

The front: Back when showing a player with a huge wad of chewing tobacco distorting their face was completely normal.

The back: That’s already a long stat line, and he still had three more years to go.

The player: Jenkins pitched nineteen years in the major leagues, yet never pitched in the postseason, as he had the misfortune to be a great pitcher on mediocre Cubs and Rangers teams. A seven-time 20-game winner, Jenkins for his career went 284-226 with 3,192 strikeouts and a 3.34 ERA.

The man: Ferguson Jenkins Jr. was the son of a star outfielder for the Chatham Coloured All-Stars of Ontario, Canada in the 1930s. In the 1960s he played basketball for the Harlem Globetrotters in the off-season. After his career, he endured great tragedy, first losing a wife to cancer, than losing a fiancée and their three-year-old daughter when the woman killed both via carbon monoxide poisoning (reminiscent of another 1970s pitcher, Don Wilson). Jenkins has persevered through the tragedy; his Fergie Jenkins Foundation is one of the largest of its kind, supporting more than 500 charities in Canada and the US. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991, and Canada Post honored him with a stamp in 2011.

My collection: I have 23 of his cards, from 1972 to 1984. I would be interested in trading for 1966 Topps #254, 1967 Topps #333, 1968 Topps #410, 1969 Topps #640, 1970 Topps #240, and 1971 Topps #280.

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