Fergie Jenkins was one of the greatest baseball players in Canadian history, and on Friday he was finally honoured with one of the nation’s most prestigious awards. Jenkins was nominated for the Order of Canada in 1984 while he was with the Chicago Cubs, but because he was living and working in the U.S., the Chatham , Ont. native had the award delivered to him and never attended a ceremony. Until now.
Jenkins got a phone call from Ottawa in 2006 inviting him to this year’s ceremony, and on Friday he shook hands with Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean who placed the pin on his lapel. Jenkins spends most of the year in Arizona , this but said Canada ‘s a permanent part of his identity.
“My mother would turn over in her grave if I gave up my citizenship,” he said. “I’m totally Canadian … From my education, to my heritage, to growing up here, it’s just something I’m very proud of.”
Today he runs the Fergie Jenkins Foundation out of St. Catharines , Ont., to promote or financially support causes like the Special Olympics, affordable housing, cancer research, and assistance for the blind.