31 ain’t the lonliest number the Cubs ever did

by Andy Paschen


Fergie Jenkins, Greg Maddux

Billy Williams, Ron Santo, Ernie Banks and Ryne Sandberg will have some company this season. Jersey number 31 worn by HoFer Fergie Jenkins and future HoFer Greg Maddux will join 26, 10, 14 and 23, respectively,on the fair poles as the 5th number retired by the Cubs.

Fergie Jenkins player with the Baby Bears for 10 years and won 20 games or more from 1967-1972, winning the Cy Young award in 1971. Oh, an he’s Canadian, born and raised in Ontario, which makes him probably the nicest Cub until Ryan Dempster showed up. He made it into the HoF in 1991.

Greg Maddux, well, if you don’t know anything about Greg Maddux then you should probably scoot. Get out. Go wiki his name. Skedaddle. But if you don’t know anything about him and are still reading this, this is all you need to know:

In age when players were sticking more things in their butt than people at a Queen concert, Maddux had ERAs of 1.53 and 1.63. Read that last line again. Don’t worry, I’ll wait … done? Good.

Retiring Maddux’s number is a little suspect: he did win a Cy Young with the Cubs but he’ll go into the HoF as an Atlanta Brave because of his limited time on the North Side. I’m not sure if I feel like it cheapens the Jenkins side of the retirement, but without Fergie Jenkins there is no way Maddux is getting his name on the foul poles.

But anyway, here’s to Fergie and Greg — Cubs brothers in arms.

So who’s the next Cubs to get his number retired? Mark Grace is the odds on favorite to be the next. Sammy Sosa has the numbers, but everybody in Chicago hates him so he probably won’t make the cut. Hack Wilson? Wrigley Field does love its drunks. Could Aramis Ramirez produce long enough to merit a number retirement? Kerry Wood’s always been a fan favorite, but did he do enough on the field? Discuss amongst yourselves.


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