Accession Number- 988.32.13
Dimensions- 8.9cm x 6.4cm
I chose this artifact because, as a Canadian sports fan, no athlete set the stage for Canadian success on the biggest stages of sport more than Fergie Jenkins. As a multi-sport athlete from Chatham, Ontario, Jenkins was the first Canadian inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Since Jenkins, many Canadians have played and excelled in Major League Baseball. But they all have Fergie Jenkins to thank for blazing the trail.
Jenkins is not only a testament to Canadian sport in general, but he is an example of the rich history of African-Canadian athletes. Born to a father who immigrated to Canada from Barbados and a mother who descended from slaves who escaped via the Underground Railroad, Jenkins overcame racial discrimination throughout his career to become one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history. Jenkins is one of the greatest athletes in Canada’s 150 year history and a living, breathing national treasure.
With 284 career wins and 3,192 career strikeouts, Fergie Jenkins was a superstar. With a career that spanned 1965 to 1983, Jenkins brought unprecedented recognition for the game of baseball in Canada. Jenkins also excelled on the basketball court, playing for the world-renowned Harlem Globetrotters during the baseball offseason on multiple occasions. And all his accomplishments are memorialized in this Topps baseball card from 1983, which allowed young fans to sentimentalize over one of their favorite athletes and a true Canadian legend.
Baseball cards have long been one of the marquee collectibles for young sports fans. A baseball card of Fergie Jenkins, in particular, is a monument to a man who achieved great things for the sporting culture of this country, and for the African-Canadian community. Former Chicago Cubs manager Leo Durocher said it best when he described Jenkins as “one of the best pitchers in baseball, ever.”