Cubs to pay tribute to Maddux, Jenkins
CHICAGO -- Ferguson Jenkins and Greg Maddux will be celebrated on Sunday at Wrigley Field as the Cubs retire the No. 31 both wore with the team.
"[Jenkins] epitomizes what a professional pitcher is all about," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "Maddux is the same guy."
What the two right-handers accomplished in their careers is mind-boggling to the current Cubs pitchers. Carlos Zambrano and Angel Guzman were discussing Jenkins' 1971 season on Saturday, a campaign in which the right-hander made 39 starts, notched 30 complete games and totaled 325 innings.
"I could do that if I pitched every three days," Zambrano said.
"Give me the secret," said Guzman, who is trying to make it through one season and entered this year with less than 100 innings total.
"That one year he had 39 starts and 30 complete games -- that's insane," Ryan Dempster said.
Maddux won 15 or more games in 17 consecutive seasons, though not all with the Cubs. Still, he got started on that streak in 1988 with Chicago when he went 18-8.
"That's amazing that [Maddux] can compete and win," Kevin Gregg said. "There's a lot that goes into winning a ballgame that's not in his control, and to be able to do that just shows how good he was."
The pregame ceremony will begin at 12:40 p.m. CT at Wrigley Field. Both pitchers will be presented with paintings done by Chicago artist John Hanley.
Piniella didn't remember whether he faced Jenkins, but said, "If I did, I'm sure I hit into a double play."
"I was reading one of his books," Dempster said. "[Jenkins] would say, 'Get me one run and we'll win,' and that's what he would do. His number has been long overdue up there. It's pretty remarkable that two guys in one organization wore that number, and both put up the numbers they did."
No. 31 will be the fifth number to be retired by the team. The list already includes No. 10 (Ron Santo), No. 14 (Ernie Banks), No. 23 (Ryne Sandberg), No. 26 (Billy Williams) and No. 42 (Jackie Robinson).
"Both of us had pretty good careers wearing that uniform number," Jenkins said in March when the Cubs announced the honor. "[Maddux] won quite a few games, a few more than I did. Most of the fans remember your number, and that's what this is for -- the fans."
Both pitchers won their first Cy Young Awards while with the Cubs (Jenkins 1971, Maddux 1992). Jenkins pitched for the Cubs from 1966-73 and 1982-83, while Maddux was with the team from 1986-92 and again in 2004-06. This March, Maddux said he recalled not even asking for a number when he was first called up to the big league team
"I remember walking down the stairs into the clubhouse," Maddux said. "I got called up in September from [Triple-A] Des Moines. [No. 31] was right there in my locker. Being 20 years old at the time, the last thing I was going to do was complain about my number. I was just happy to be there."
Maddux was not the first to wear the number after Jenkins left the Cubs. Pitcher Ray Fontenot wore No. 31 from 1985-86 before it was given to Maddux. From now on, it will always be linked to Jenkins and Maddux at Wrigley Field.
"I always said I was so lucky to have [Maddux] as a teammate," Dempster said. "It's not for things he ever said, but watching and learning. He was one of the best teammates I ever had, and I'm sure that's a quote that's said by a lot of guys."
Sean Marshall took advantage of his time with Maddux when the right-hander returned to the Cubs for his second stint.
"He was a big fan of 'When all else fails, throw a heater down and away,'" Marshall said. "I learned by example from him, just the way he'd prepare mentally and physically for a start. He was always ready and tried to be more prepared than the other team."
Starting pitchers now aim for 200 innings in a season. To total 300 innings four straight seasons, which Jenkins did, is amazing.
"It sounds like Fergie was a machine," Marshall said. "He had a durable arm, durable body. It sounds like he was a great pitcher. I would've loved to see him pitch. Him having his jersey retired and being in the Hall of Fame, it's well deserved."
"I have an old-school mentality to take the ball every day," Gregg said, "but I'm still monitored way closer than what these guys were. Hats off to what they did, and to do it year in and year out. To be able to take the ball and make nearly 40 starts a season and complete almost every game, it's awesome. It's cool to look back and see what these guys did."