Statue of local MLB Hall of Famer being revealed June 10th

Chatham-Kent residents and visitors soon won’t have to drive to Wrigley Field to see a statue of Canadian baseball legend and Chatham-Kent native Fergie Jenkins.

Mayor Darrin Canniff is happy to announce that a full-size replica of the bronze statue of Jenkins that sits outside of the Chicago Cubs’ home stadium has been gifted to Chatham-Kent and is being unveiled at a celebration of Jenkins and his career on Saturday, June 10th. Everyone is invited to watch as Jenkins is honoured, and those expected to attend the ceremony include MLB ballplayers, Chicago Cubs Organization members, and other celebrities.

“Having this statue unveiled in my hometown will be very special,” said Jenkins. “I’m very proud to be from Chatham, it is a great town and I’m excited for everyone to get a chance to see it. Thank you to Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts for allowing us to cast the exact same statue that sits outside of Wrigley Field.”

The statue dedication will take place at 3pm in front of the Civic Center and is open to the public. Fans traveling from out of town should make hotel accommodations as soon as possible as most hotels have already began filling up in anticipation of the unveiling.

With support from both an anonymous donor and a new community partner, FirstOntario Credit Union, the sculpture is being presented as a gift to the residents of Chatham-Kent. FirstOntario’s support will also cover the costs of the ceremony in honour of Fergie Jenkins, and later the same day the credit union will host the FirstOntario Family Fun Zone community celebration.

“FirstOntario is proud to join the community and play a part in providing this recognition for baseball hero and legend Fergie Jenkins,” said Lloyd Smith, CEO, FirstOntario Credit Union. “We are committed to our members’ financial health and our communities, and look forward to continuing to grow the credit union difference in the Chatham-Kent region.”

Jenkins had a legendary career with the Cubs, which includes winning a Cy Young Award and a record six straight 20-win seasons in Chicago. He is one of two Canadian-born Hall of Famers and was Canada’s first Major League Baseball player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. He pitched 18 seasons in the majors and tallied more than 3,000 strikeouts.

Mayor Darrin Canniff wishes to thank the owners, players, and the Chicago Cubs organization for giving permission for the creation of a replica statue, as well as artist Lou Cella, who has agreed to make the duplicate of his original statue.

“Fergie embodies a lot of the great qualities we see throughout Chatham-Kent: tenacity, kindness, hard work, and a will to succeed,” says Mayor Canniff. “We’re thankful for the generosity of the anonymous donor and FirstOntario Credit Union, the Cubs Organization, and of course, Fergie himself. For many years to come, this statue will serve as a great reminder of what Jenkins has done both for the game of baseball and for the community of Chatham-Kent.”

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