Monday, April 13, 2009

Mark Fidrych, 54, 1976 American League Rookie of the Year 1954-2009

It is with a heavy hand that I write this entry, as I spent time with former Detroit Tiger Mark "The Bird" Fidrych only a few months earlier at the BAT (Baseball Assistance Team) Dinner in New York City. The Huffington Post reports that Fidrych died in an accident while working on his pickup truck around 2:30PM on Monday. The colorful Fidrych was the 1976 American League Rookie of The Year after he posted a 19-9 record with an astounding 24 complete games. In an era of relief specialists and controlled pitch counts, that is a mark that will never be reached again. His career was cut short by both shoulder and knee injuries, pitching only 58 games in the Major Leagues over 5 seasons. Fidrych earned the nickname "The Bird" for his resemblance of the Sesame Street character. It was a moniker he embraced, not shying away from the title or the character as shown in the photo above. Fidrych was 54 at the time of death, leaving behind his wife Ann, and his daughter Jessica.

For a deeper look into Fidrych's career, read the following articles:
ESPN Classic: "In '76, Bird Was The Word"
Sports Illustrated: "The Bird Fell To Earth"


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