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Former Chicago Cubs pitcher Fergie Jenkins waves to fans before a game on Aug. 31, 2016.Nam Y. Huh/The Canadian Press

Fergie Jenkins didn’t watch fellow Canadian James Paxton’s no-hitter against the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night.

But when he read about the Seattle Mariners left-hander’s dominant performance in the newspaper on Wednesday morning, it brought back memories of his own brushes with history over his Hall of Fame career.

Jenkins, the 1971 National League Cy Young award winner from Chatham, Ont., pitched 49 career shutouts over 19 MLB seasons.

He had 20 three-hitters, 10 two-hitters and three one-hitters – but only one of them still stands out in his mind.

“Oh yeah, John Lowenstein got the hit, that’s the closest I got,” Jenkins, 75, said with a chuckle, recalling a July 3, 1979, contest between his Texas Rangers and the Baltimore Orioles.

Jenkins was perfect through the first four innings before Lowenstein hit a 3-2 fastball to right field to lead off the fifth. The Canadian responded by retiring the next 14 batters before a two-out walk in the ninth.

Texas won 4-0, giving Jenkins his ninth victory of the season, eighth complete game and second shutout.

Read more: James Paxton becomes second Canadian in MLB history to pitch no-hitter as Mariners beat Blue Jays

Read more: James Paxton: From Jays contract that wasn’t to no-hitter ‘at home in Canada’

According to an article published in the Washington Post that night, Jenkins told reporters he had had a feeling in warm-up that he would throw a no-hitter. Looking back 39 years later, he said getting the victory was always the primary goal.

“You work so hard to try to get the win, that’s the No. 1 thing. If a no-hitter’s involved, fine,” Jenkins said Wednesday in a phone interview with The Canadian Press. “You pretty much know after [a few innings] that you’ve got a possible chance for a no-hitter.

“You tell yourself: ‘Hey, I have a chance to do it.’ But it didn’t happen.”

Jenkins also pitched a one-hitter – with 10 strikeouts and a walk – in his first start of the 1974 season with Texas, a 2-0 win over Oakland. His first one-hitter came on July 27, 1972, with the Cubs, a 4-0 Chicago win over Philadelphia.

Jenkins, the only Canadian-born player to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, said he never let his excitement take over his focus during those games.

“Being a pitcher, and as long as I pitched, the focus was always right there,” he said. “You say: ‘Hey, just stay within yourself, try to get good location with pitches and try not to get a ball up in the strike zone that can be hit hard.’ ... You still know exactly what you’re supposed to do, so you try to stay focused.”

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Seattle Mariners starting pitcher James Paxton, from Ladner, B.C., reacts after throwing a no-hitter against the Blue Jays on Tuesday.Fred Thornhill/The Canadian Press

Jenkins, who has never met Paxton, called the Ladner, B.C., native’s no-hitter at the Rogers Centre “quite a feat.”

But he’s hoping to see the Mariners starter achieve even more success.

“That’s a feather in his cap. Let’s hope he can continue to do it,” Jenkins said. “I think the biggest thing is to be consistent. It’s young in the season. That’s a pretty important win for the ball club, but now they have to try to stay ahead.

“Consistency gives you an opportunity to be a winning pitcher and for him to work hard to finish off the season, he’s got four more months to work hard to try to win as many games as possible to help his team and maybe win that division.”

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