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This Birthday in Buffalo Sports History: Ferguson Jenkins

(Born December 13, 1942) -- If you blinked, you missed the Buffalo stop of Ferguson Jenkins. At least we got to see him at the beginning of his great career.

Jenkins was born and raised in Chatham, Ont. He was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies and spent most of his first season in the pros with Miami in 1962. But apparently, the Phillies’ AAA affiliate needed a pitcher for a while, and Jenkins got the call. He pitched in three games, going 1-1 with an earned-run average of 5.54

The big right-hander worked his way up the ladder more slowly after that, but still didn’t look like a great pitcher. Then the Phillies traded him to the Cubs in a five-man deal involving Larry Jackson and Bob Buhl in 1966. After one so-so season, Jenkins’ career took off starting in 1967.

He went 20-13 in his first full season as a Cub, and at least 20 games in his next six seasons as well. Jenkins threw more than 300 innings four times in that stretch. His acquisition ranks as one of the best deals in Chicago history.

Jenkins eventually was traded to the Rangers, and he also played for the Red Sox before returning to the Cubs. He finished with 284 wins, a Cy Young Award and three All-Star appearances. That was more than good enough to get him into the Hall of Fame.

--- Budd Bailey

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