Spider Jones smiles when he recalls his earliest memory of Fergie Jenkins.
“I can remember putting on skates together for the first time in Chatham,” Jones said. “I was like Bambi on ice, but things came naturally for Fergie. We all know him as one of the greatest pitchers in professional baseball, but he could do it all.”
Jones, 64, is a native of Windsor, Ont., and a former three-time Golden Glove boxing champion. He was on hand at Toronto’s city hall today to pay homage to his friend and fellow athlete Jenkins, 68. Jenkins was presented with a poster celebrating his sporting legacy as part of Black History Month.
Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday presented Jenkins with the poster, and was quick to note the city’s pride in the Cy Young Award winner.
“Baseball is a part of Toronto,” Holyday said. “It’s a sport that celebrates diversity, just as we do as a city.”
Jenkins said he was humbled to receive the award, and in turn unveiled the Canada Post issued stamp that commemorates his achievements.
“Baseball has always been a huge part of my life,” Jenkins said. “My family and I are extremely proud that the City of Toronto has honoured me in this way, and that Canada has honoured me by issuing a stamp.
Jenkins is the only Canadian inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, and is considered the centre piece of the 14 Black Aces — a group of African American pitchers with at least 20 wins in one season. He was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 2007, and has had his number 31 jersey retired by his former club, the Chicago Cubs.
“I just feel blessed,” Jenkins said after the proceedings. “This truly is a dream come true, and it’s something that I hope all of Canada can enjoy and share.”