Here’s one we can file under: “Most Lopsided Trades of All Time!”

Here’s one we can file under: “Most Lopsided Trades of All Time!”

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 Here’s one we can file under: Most Lopsided Trades of All Time!

It doesn’t get much worse that this! Fifty-one years ago yesterday, April 21, 1966, Cub General Manager John Holland completed what was undoubtedly the best deal of his long tenure at the Cub front office helm –  and certainly one of the greatest deals in the Cubs’ long and storied history.

Old time Cub fans like me remember this one well. The Cubs obtained Fergie Jenkins from the Phillies for two veteran pitchers who were near the end of their careers: Larry Jackson and Bob Buhl, along with outfielder Aldofo Phillips. All Jenkins did was go on to have a Hall-of-Fame career, while Jackson and Buhl combined for a 47-53 record for the Phils.

Over his 19-year career (1965-1983), Fergie Jenkins played for the Phillies, Cubs, Rangers, and Red Sox. He posted a 284-266 (.557) career mark, with a 3.34 ERA, 3,192 strikeouts, 267 complete games, and a career 3.20 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Over an eight-year period from 1967-1974, he won 20 or more games seven times. His streak of six straight seasons with 20 or more wins (1967–1972) is the longest streak in the major leagues since Warren Spahn did it between 1956 and 1961. Jenkins, along with Greg MadduxCurt Schilling, and Pedro Martínez are the only major league pitchers to ever record more than 3,000 strikeouts with fewer than 1,000 walks.

The three-time All-Star twice led the league in wins. He led the league five times in complete games and fewest walks per nine innings; and once in strikeouts. Fergie was known for giving up a lot of home runs, but his amazing control meant that a high percentage of them were just one-run shots.The three-time All-Star twice led the league in wins, five times in complete games, five times in fewest walks per nine innings, and once in strikeouts. Fergie was known for giving up a lot of home runs, but his amazing control meant that a high percentage of them were just one-run shots.

His best year was 1971, when he led the National League in wins, posting a 24-13 (.649) record, with a 2.77 ERA, and 30 complete games in 39 starts over 325 innings, on route to becoming the first Canadian Cy Young Award winner. His 263 strikeouts against only 37 walks that year gave him an amazing 7.11 strikeout-to-walk ratio, which easily led the league. An excellent all-around athlete who once played for the Harlem Globetrotters, Jenkins also posted a .478 slugging percentage in 1971, hitting six home runs and driving in 20 in just 115 at-bats.

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. He is considered the anchor of the 12 Black Aces, a group of major league pitchers with at least twenty wins in one season.

Using the Baseball Reference “Similarity Scorres” feature, we can see the Fergie’s career stats compare favorably with some of baseball’s greats: Robin Roberts, Jim Kaat, Bert Blyleven, Red Ruffing, Early Wynn, Dennis Maarrtinez, and Jim Bunning. 

All-in-all, I’d say this turned out to be a pretty good deal for the Cubs!

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Gary Livacari

Photo Credits: All from Google search

Information: Excerpts edited from the Ferguson Jenkins Wikipedia page.

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I'm a baseball historian who also loves to write. My forte is identifying ballplayers in old photos, and my specail interest is the Dead Ball Era.

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