Thursday, August 14, 2014

Happy Baseball Birthday...Mark "The Bird" Fidrych

Today's Happy Baseball Birthday is former Detroit Tigers pitcher Mark "The Bird" Fidrych.

Mark Steven Fidrych was born on August 14, 1954, in Worcester,  Massachusetts, and  attended  Worcester Academy High School.

The Detroit Tigers drafted Mark in the 10th round if the 1974 amatuer baseball draft.

After a couple of years in the Tigers farm systen, Fidrych made his big league debut for the Tigers on April 20, 1976.

All Tigers fans around in '76, myself included, can rattle off Fidrych's 1976 season... 19 wins, 9 losses, an American League leading 2.34 ERA and 24 compete games. 

Fidrych was a baseball rock star who talked to the baseball, manicured the dirt around the pitching mound on his hands and knees, had a big, infectious smile,  ran on and off the field, and thanked his Tigers teammates after they made plays like it was a Little League game.

Injuries, starting in the spring of 1977, would allow Mark Fidrych to start only 27 games between '77-'80, and his final big league game was in Toronto,  on October 1, 1980, vs the Blue Jays.

Nearly five years later, in 1985, famed baseball doctor James Andrews diagnosed Fidrych with a torn rotator cuff injury, and although it was repaired, the damage was done,  and Fidrych never pitched again.

Mark Fidrych passed away at the age of 54 on April 13, 2009, of a accident on his farm in Northboro. 

No player, not  Alan Trammell,  Kirk Gibson, Jack Morris,  Cecil Fielder, Justin Verlander, or Miguel Cabrera ment more or was more beloved by Tigers fans like Mark Fidrych was in 1976.

Happy Baseball Birthday Mark!


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