Mark “The Bird” Fidrych courtesy Mark Fidrych Foundation
Mark Fidrych reminded you of your childhood, no matter how old you were when he pitched. This was his charm, his curse, his legacy. He personified athletic innocence.
-Michael Rosenberg, Detroit Free Press
I’m a lifelong Detroit Tiger fan & without question one of the most magical summers was the summer of ’76 when The Bird tore up the majors with his talking to the ball, mound grooming antics en route to a 19-9 season, winning AL Rookie of the Year honors (and finishing runner-up for the Cy Young), and leading the league in ERA.
He died unexpectedly 11 years ago today, and it still hurts to lose a bright light light like him so young. My dad had a Michigan sports show on TV that year, and I actually got to meet Mark. I don’t remember what he said to me, but I do remember how clear & in the moment he was and above all, what a truly nice human being he was.
More about this weird and wonderful character can be found at BaseballReference.com’s page for Mark Steven Fidrych and definitely watch this interview with Fydrich for a look at this Detroit Tiger original!