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View Full Version : Mark "The Bird" Fidrych dead at age 54


Calvin & Kevin
04-13-2009, 06:48 PM
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/baseball/mlb/04/13/fidrych-death.ap/index.html

OK I know you all are mostly younger and might not remember him, but The Bird was perhaps the all-time one year wonder in the history of professional sports. Started the All-Star game as a rookie. Talked to the baseball and smoothed out the mound with his hands before his starts.

I was 8 years old in 1976. I remember a mid-season game against the Yankees which was on the Game of the Week (before ESPN, before cable). Fidrych owned the Yankees and I loved the Tigers and baseball ever since that day.

Even as a rookie, Fidrych drew sellout crowds on the road in that year. Wherever he went he was a star. Plus he was a great guy, he loved it that kids loved him because of the Big Bird thing. Even after he got hurt and basically got tossed out in the trash by Sparky Anderson, he was never angry or bitter that his career was so short, but in interviews I've heard with him over the years, he was always nice and happy and proud of his time in the spotlight. He was an ordinary, good guy with a Massachusetts accent.

Big ups and love to The Bird.

T-RICH49
04-13-2009, 06:49 PM
wow what a horrible week for baseball

CJSchneider
04-13-2009, 07:47 PM
I'm not old enough to remember him from his playing days, but as a fan, he is one of those characters that comes around ever so rarely and reminds us to not take some things so damn serious. I still collect baseball cards and have his rookie card. It may not be that valuable in relation to many of my other cards, but it is by far one I appreciate more because of who he was.

El Peefs?????
04-13-2009, 08:14 PM
Tigers legend! The Bird was crazy and awesome.

Youngish guy too, was only in his 50's !

Don Vito
04-13-2009, 08:57 PM
RIP, I'm too young to have ever seen him play but he is a Massachusetts sports legend.

tjsunstein
04-13-2009, 11:32 PM
This is crazy because I just watched that game against the Yankees this past weekend on MLB Network. Really sad. Strange accident as well.

LizardState
04-14-2009, 10:33 AM
I remember him well, talking to the ball, high-fiving teammates before that became trendy, very idiosyncratic kind of guy. At 1st the announcers thought he was psyching out the batters, that's just the weird way he was. And he was a good pitcher for the Tigers, yeah C&K I remember him owning the Yankees too.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=4065778

He was p/o that mound of very strange pitchers in the 1970s that gave MLB a charismatic flavor before the digital broadcasting age & drug-testing, also included were Bill "Spaceman" Lee from the Red Sox, Al "The Mad Hungarian" Hrabosky of the Royals, & J.R. Reid of the Astros who once told an interviewer what it was like to pitch a game in the Astrodome on LSD. Maybe include the whole inaugural Texas Rangers team after they moved from DC too, they were known as the Strange Rangers for good reasons.

RIP Mark Fidrych.

Splat
04-14-2009, 10:37 AM
Before my time but did know about him thanks to ESPN classic I'm not a baseball fan but had to like the guy RIP.

P-L
04-14-2009, 11:55 AM
He was a much better person than he was baseball player. A true class act. I'm too young to have seen him pitch but I know he did some great things for the people of Michigan.

He's been living in Massachusetts but every year he comes back to Michigan to participate in the Wertz Warriors snowmobile trek, which raises money for the Special Olympics.

I also heard on the radio that after he went to the hospital after sustaining a leg injury he went around to every room on his floor and in the Children's Hospital in a wheelchair talking to other patients and signing autographs.

R.I.P.

fischbowl
04-14-2009, 02:01 PM
The Bird truly was a class act and I was extremely saddened to hear about the accident.