May 4, 2009 in Sports

Cubs honor two with 31

Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Former Chicago Cubs players Ferguson Jenkins, left, and Greg Maddux share a common bond.
(Full-size photo)

Greg Maddux and Ferguson Jenkins played in different eras, but they used similar styles – and wore the same jersey number – to become two of the best pitchers in Chicago Cubs’ history.

Their No. 31 was retired prior to the Cubs’ game against the Florida Marlins in Chicago on Sunday.

“The fun part of doing what we did was putting that uniform on,” Jenkins said. “You were at home on that field.”

With their families sitting beside them, Jenkins and Maddux each gave a brief speech. The aces then watched from home plate as former teammates – Randy Hundley and Glenn Beckert for Jenkins and Jody Davis for Maddux – lifted their numbers to the top of the foul poles at Wrigley Field.

Maddux’s jersey went up in right and Jenkins, a Hall of Famer, had his number go in left.

“I wasn’t lucky enough to watch Fergie pitch as much,” Maddux said. “I was told he could paint. I remember one of the coaches compared me to him, so I had to find out about him. And I started learning about his control and the complete games that he pitched.”

Maddux retired last December as the eighth-winningest pitcher in major league history with 355 victories.

The number of Maddux and Jenkins joined Ernie Banks (14), Billy Williams (26), Ron Santo (10) and Ryne Sandberg (23) up on the foul poles.

Jenkins and Maddux both played 10 years with the Cubs, using pinpoint accuracy and a workhorse approach. Each won a Cy Young in a Cubs uniform.

Jenkins played for Chicago from 1966-1973 and 1982-83, winning the Cy Young in 1971 after going 24-13 with 30 complete games, a 2.77 ERA and 263 strikeouts. The club’s all-time leader in strikeouts, Jenkins went 167-132 with 2,038 strikeouts with Chicago. He went 284-226 with 3,192 strikeouts during his 19-year career, becoming the first major leaguer to retire with more than 3,000 strikeouts and less than 1,000 walks – an achievement Maddux matched.

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