Statue puts Fergie Jenkins in good Cub company

Already a Hall of Famer, the former Cubs pitcher was humbled and honored to not only have a statue at Gallagher Way adjacent to Wrigley Field — but next to statues of his former teammates Ernie Banks, Billy Williams and Ron Santo.

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Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins speaks in front of his statue, which was unveiled Friday outside Wrigley Field.

Nam Y. Huh/AP

They often say it doesn’t get better than the Hall of Fame. For former Cubs pitcher Fergie Jenkins, however, it kind of did.

Jenkins, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1991, cherished another great moment Friday, when his statue was unveiled next to those of former Cubs teammates Ernie Banks, Billy Williams and Ron Santo outside Wrigley Field.

‘‘When I was a little kid growing up in Chatham, Ontario, throwing rocks at passenger trains, never did I imagine being a 20-game winner, being an All-Star, winning a Cy Young [Award], being a member of the 3,000-strikeout club or even being in the Hall of Fame,’’ Jenkins said before an appreciative crowd of fans, young and old, at Gallagher Way. ‘‘But now the statue, sitting beside by fellow teammates Ernie, Billy and Ronnie — believe me, I’m humble. I stand here a proud man [but] also humble.’’

Four other Hall of Fame Cubs were in attendance: Williams, Ryne Sandberg, Andre Dawson and Lee Smith. Former teammate Randy Hundley was there, too.

Jenkins went 167-132 with a 3.20 ERA in 10 seasons with the Cubs (1966-73, 1982-83). He won 20 or more games in six consecutive seasons (1967-72) and won the National League Cy Young Award in 1971. He is one of four pitchers in major-league history with 3,000 or more strikeouts (3,192) and fewer than 1,000 walks (997).

It was another memorable day for Jenkins and his family, who unveiled the statue. He helped his infant grandson throw out the first ball and sang the seventh-inning stretch.

And fans responded everywhere he went.

‘‘My whole career was day baseball,’’ said Jenkins, who was 284-226 in 19 big-league seasons and was the runner-up for the American League Cy Young Award with the Rangers in 1974. ‘‘When we were winning, you see [fans] line up outside going into the bleachers.

‘‘I came up Irving Park a lot of times. You see them camped out, waiting for games. It was always good to know I had that support. And they cheered for me, [even] when I pitched bad — because I lost ballgames, too. But I won [167] as a Cub. You could lose, but the fans appreciated your performance.’’

Chicago’s very own

Diamondbacks rookie outfielder Alek Thomas, a Mount Carmel graduate, hit a double and a home run and is hitting .333 (14-for-42) through his first 13 games in the big leagues. He was prepared for the inviting windy conditions Friday.

‘‘When I played here [in high school], we were hitting home runs all the time because of the wind because we played next to the lake at Mount Carmel,’’ said Thomas, a South Sider who grew up rooting for the White Sox. ‘‘The wind always has an effect here in Chicago, so you’ve got to adapt to it.’’

This and that

Rookie Christopher Morel continued his impressive big-league start with his second homer and an RBI single. He’s hitting .364 (4-for-11).

• Catcher Willson Contreras was ejected for arguing after being called out on a pitch that appeared to be inside in the seventh inning.

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