Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Mark "The Bird" Fidrych passed away yesterday of an apparent accident at age 54. For every kid I knew back in the summer of 1976, The Bird was a hero. As a rookie pitcher for the Detroit Tigers he went 19-9, won rookie of the year honors and was an all-star. But it wasn't just the pitching that made him attractive to fans. It was his manner. Mark talked to the ball, fussed over the condition of the mound, and just made baseball fun. There were songs on the radio about him, and even an iron-on transfer in the newspaper so that you could make your own Mark Fidrych t-shirt. Even though he suffered injuries that he was never able to recover enough from to return to baseball, I will never forget that magical season that he gave us all those years ago.