Tuesday, February 1, 2011

"You work with Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas?!"

As per the title of this post, it's safe to say the Fergie Jenkins is far from being one of the more well-known Canadian celebrities. Upon telling someone recently that one of my volunteer responsibilities was 'taking Fergie to the airport,' I received the title's response. In actuality though, Fergie Jenkins is the most successful Canadian in the history of professional baseball -- the only Canadian in the Hall of Fame, a recipient of the Order of Canada and one of only 14 black pitchers of all-time to win more than 20 games in a single season, an accomplishment that has him known as one of The Black Aces. So, what does Fergie do that makes him such a great humanitarian?

The objective of The Fergie Jenkins Foundation is essentially to sell sports memorabilia and donate the funds raised to charities in North America. While working for his Foundation, one of my tasks is to maintain a list of active charities that we make donations to -- the list is incredibly long and so indicative of Fergie's generosity. He works countless charity events throughout the course of the year and is currently taking part in a cross-country tour, promoting Black History Month and his commemoration on a Canadian stamp. 

Fergie has been faced with so many challenges throughout his life that it is truly remarkable to see someone so giving, despite the hardships he has faced. During his playing career in the 1960s and 70s, the United States continued to struggle with racism and baseball players were not exempt from prejudice. Fergie often tells stories about being segregated to certain hotels while traveling and being prohibited from going on Miami Beach or from going to certain restaurants. The name-calling, death threats and unfair treatment are hard for us to fully comprehend. Furthermore, Fergie has been faced with countless tragedies throughout his life, not limited to the early death of his mother from cancer, the death of his second wife in a car accident and the suicide of his fiance years later, who also killed Fergie's three-year-old daughter in the process.

In all likelihood, I will be referencing the accomplishments of Fergie Jenkins again in this blog. There is so much information that I would like to fit into this small space so I'll try to utilize the help of links to help add to my story. What I hope, however, is that this brief post has provided you with a little insight into the humanitarian contributions by this great Canadian, whose accomplishments truly go Beyond the Boxscores.

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