Number 31 to Be Retired to Honor Jenkins and Maddux

Two dominant pitchers shared the same number.

For much of the past 40 years, the number 31 has symbolized excellence in pitching for the Chicago Cubs. It was worn first by Ferguson Jenkins, then by Greg Maddux. Now, these two men who made the number great will be honored by the Cubs with the retirement of No. 31 so that no other Cub can wear it, and so that it will fly over Wrigley Field.

Jenkins is a Hall-of-Famer who held court at Wrigley Field in the late 60s and early 70s, and then ended his career with a stint on the North Side in the early 80s. He had six 20-win seasons for the Cubs, with his most dominating point coming in 1971. During that Cy Young-winning season, he won 24 games and had a 2.72 ERA.

Maddux was equally dominating, wearing Cubbie blue from 1986-92, and again from 2004-06. Compared to Jenkins' overpowering pitching, Maddux is more accurately compared to a surgeon, slicing up the strike zone and befuddling batters. He also won a Cy Young for his most dominant season with the team, a 20-win gem in 1992. Though he left on semi-acrimonious terms, he returned to the Cubs early this decade and helped groom younger pitchers while winning 28 games in two full seasons.

Though their pitching styles were very different, the two had similar experiences as a Cub. They both were on teams that came close to tasting glory -- Jenkins was part of the 1968 team that collapsed and lost the pennant to the Mets, and Maddux was on the 1989 team that won the division but was swept out of the playoffs -- but never got to the promised land. They will now be forever connected by their retired number as two of the greatest Cubs of all time.

Copyright FREEL - NBC Local Media
Contact Us