27 December 2013

how about some fergie jenkins final tributes?

fergie jenkins was one of four hall of famers to end their career with the end of the 1983 season.  unfortunately for us card collectors, no one knew it at the time.  if we had, perhaps donruss would have put him on the 'b' insert card in their 1984 set with gaylord perry instead of rollie fingers.  and, perhaps fleer would have put him in their superstar specials subset as they did for johnny bench and carl yastrzemski and perry, or that topps would have added him to the highlight card that featured all three of those players - the other three future hof-ers who retired after the '83 season ended.  no, fergie jenkins had every intention of returning to the majors in 1984 for a 20th big league season.  unfortunately, the cubs released the right-hander during spring training.

that meant that his 1984 card releases became final tributes.  luckily, the fact that jenkins did try to return in '84 also meant that all three card manufacturers issued cards for him.  here's his donruss issue 
i like that it features a wrigley field photo with the ivy behind him.

here's the back
hey - his birthday was just two weeks ago.  happy belated 70th fergie!  this has been a bit of a birthday blog over the last week - garvey, rickey, and now fergie.  anyway, here's his 1984 fleer card
the back of which digs deep and goes all the way back to 1964 with the minor league stats.
fergie actually began his professional career in 1962 as a 19-year old with the phillies' miami marlins affiliate.

here's his 1984 topps card
with the complete major league stats on the back
since his retirement, i have considered jenkins' best stat to be his 997 walks.  he struck out 3192 batters, but walked less than 1000 in 4500 innings.  his career whip was 1.14.  of course, since jenkins' retirement, three other pitchers have surpassed 3000 k's with fewer than 1000 bb's - pedro martinez, greg maddux, and curt schilling - but jenkins was the first and i thought that was incredible.

jenkins was one of the guys i would use when discussing the merits of bert blyleven's hall of fame candidacy with friends.  that's not a knock on jenkins - it's (to me) an affirmation of blyleven's worthiness.  bert pitched in more seasons so one could discount the (slightly) greater win total, sure, but their career era is just about even (blyleven's was 3.31).  bert had just over 500 more strikeouts, but 325 more walks.  fergie had far more 20-win seasons, but in general, bert pitched on poorer teams.  it made for some interesting conversations, but no one really debated me because everyone in twins territory thought that bert should have been in the hall.

anyway, i've seen jenkins at twinsfest a time or two, and have wondered if he and bert ever talk about stuff like that.  i'm just glad that they are both in cooperstown.


Nick said...

Finishing this "final tribute" collection after finding Fergie's 1984 Fleer issue at a garage sale (of all places) this year was one of my proudest card-related moments of 2013.

gcrl said...

thanks for the comment nick.

these were the first final tributes i noticed where all 3 manufacturers made a regular card of the player, so they are fairly significant to me. i forgot to mention that in the post.

i also forgot to note that i wonder why fleer doesn't recognize all of jenkins' saves? and they can't even add up the saves column correctly, either.