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Fergie: My Life from the Cubs to Cooperstown

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  • Posted May 9, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    From Triumph To Tragedy, Back To Triumph!

    Ferguson Jenkin's new book, "Fergie:My Life From The Cubs to Cooperstown" truly invites the reader into his life, from his baseball career, to his personal tragedies of divorce, suicide of his fiancee, death of his daughter and mother, the story of his drug arrest, and much more. Jenkins had written two prior books, "Inside Pitching" in 1972 and "Like Nobody Else:The Fergie Jenkins Story" in 1973, but this all came before his best season ever, which was in 1974.Inside Pitching (Inside Sports) That year, with the Texas Rangers he led the American League in wins and won more games than in any other, with a record of 25 victories and 12 losses. In no other book that he wrote, does Jenkins reveal his thoughts so candidly and reflect on his life, from his experiences with the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team to playing two seasons with the Boston Red Sox, the end of his playing days, and ultimately, his election into the Hall of Fame in 1991. He was a three time All-Star and also won the Cy Young Award with the Chicago Cubs in 1971, recording 24 victories and 12 losses with an ERA of 2.77.
    Jenkins expresses in this book his sentiment that his drug arrest on August 25, 1980 for four grams of cocaine, marijuana and hashish discovered in his luggage delayed his induction into the Hall of Fame. Jenkins does not deny recreationally using drugs, but writes that the narcotics were placed in his luggage as a "set-up". He claims he knows who did it, but will not disclose who it is in this book.

    Ultimately, the charges were dropped and the record expunged, but Commissioner Bowie Kuhn suspended him for two weeks the first two Weeks of September, 1980 for not discussing the case with him. The Players Association filed a grievance over Kuhn's suspension and on September 18, 1970, arbitrator Raymond Goetz overruled Kuhn and reinstated Jenkins. Bowie Kuhn discusses this in his book, with his anger at the Player's Association for defending Jenkins. The late Kuhn wrote:"On December 18, 1980, Jenkins went to trial and was found guilty of cocaine possession. Because of his reputation and previously clean record, the judge erased the verdict and gave him an absolute discharge. The worse aspect of the Jenkins decision was the terrible signal it gave our players. That signal was clear enough:the player's association would protect individual players against any effort of the commissioner to enforce a sane drug program and the outside arbitrator would back up the Association. I am afraid it knocked the last latch off the floodgates."

    Bowie Kuhn was referring to the drug problems that happened shortly after the Jenkins case e.g. with Darrell Porter, Steve Howe, Alan Wiggins, and the Kansas City Royals quartet of Willie Wilson, Willie Mays Aikens, Jerry Martin and Vida Blue. Jenkins wrote that he saw it differently. Elaborating, Jenkins expressed the following: "I was definitely not a drug addict or a drug user. It was a mistake. It was clear to me that the judge heard the case and suspected there was more to the story then just me being a bad guy. I ws really innocent and set up". At the same airport, Jimi Hendrix was arrested when small amounts of heroin and hashish were "found" in his luggage. Like Jenkins, he was black and acquitted, asserting that the drugs were slipped into his bag by a fan without his knowledge. Coincidence? You judge. Truly a great read!

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