Monday, April 13, 2009

Mark "The Bird" Fidrych found dead at age 54

What a terrible day in the sporting world. Following the news of Harry Kalas' death comes word that Mark "The Bird" Fidrych was found dead in an apparent accident at his farm in Northborough, Massachusetts, at age 54. A family friend found Fidrych at about 2:30pm underneath his truck that he had apparently been working on.

Fidrych was the 1976 AL Rookie of the Year for the Detroit Tigers, going 19-9 with a 2.34 ERA and pitching 24 complete games. He got hurt during the following year's spring training, and the injuries would continue to mount, forcing him to retire after only playing in parts of five seasons.

"The Bird" was an eccentric pitcher who became well-known for his antics on the mound. He would talk to the ball, smooth the mound dirt while on his hands and knees before each inning, and was full of energy.

Although he only had one truly successful season, if you ever saw him play, Fidrych was one of those people you couldn't forget.

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