Let’s go back in time to when Hall of Fame right-handed starting pitcher Ferguson Jenkins toed the pitching slab for the Texas Rangers as well as the Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Red Sox in his 19-year career that spanned from 1965-1983. Sometimes you need the time travel to put the present in perspective, such as trying to figure out who Josh Hamilton is comparable to in baseball lore.
“He’s like Willie Stargell with Pittsburgh or Billy Williams with the Cubs,” Jenkins said. “A guy that doesn’t strike out a lot, makes contact, hits home runs, drives in runs, clutch hitter. Willie McCovey was another player like that.”
Last weekend, the Rangers turned back the clock to 1974 and wore throwback uniforms when they play played the Los Angeles Angels. Also, the Rangers welcomed back several members of that 1974 Billy Martin-managed ballclub that placed second in the American League West with an 84-76 record.
Jenkins, among those who returned to Arlington over the weekend, won 25 games for that ’74 squad and finished second in the Cy Young voting behind Oakland’s Catfish Hunter and ahead of Nolan Ryan, who was pitching for the Angels. Jenkins was a guest on Rangers Magazine (weekends on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM) when he talked about Hamilton and those Hall of Fame left-handed hitters.
Stargell played all of his 21 Major League seasons with the Pirates. The first baseman was a .282 career hitter, the 1979 National League MVP at the age of 39, and he won two World Series. Williams led NL left fielders in assists four times and was consistently among the top 10 RBI producers in the '60s. McCovey was the NL OPS leader from ’68-’70, earned the NL MVP in ’69, and the Giants' first baseman finished his career with 521 home runs.
In our Rangers Magazine conversation, Jenkins discussed being traded to the Rangers, working with rookie catcher Jim Sundberg, being managed by Martin, his teammates such as American League MVP Jeff Burroughs, the current Rangers including Yu Darvish, and more. Listen to the podcast.
Bryan Dolgin is the host of Rangers Magazine on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM. He also hosts the Rangers radio pregame and postgame shows on the Texas Rangers ESPN Radio Network. Follow him on Twitter: @RangersRadioBD.