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Remembering Mark Fidrych

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Posted By: StormCnter, 3/21/2020 4:39:30 AM

Last night, the MLB Network presented a one-hour program about the career of Mark “The Bird” Fidrych. Then, it showed the entirety of a game he pitched against the New York Yankees on June 26, 1976 — a complete game 5-1 win. For those who missed the Mark Fidrych experience, here’s some background. Fidrych debuted as a 21 year old rookie for the Detroit Tigers in 1976. He made the club with only a year and a half of experience in the minor leagues. Inserted into the starting rotation in mid-May, Fidrych won nine of his first ten starts. His only loss was to Boston, 2-0.

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We enjoyed "The Bird"'s pitching several times as Rangers season ticket holders. I have his autograph, which I got for one of our kids and then kept for myself.

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Reply 1 - Posted by: JunkYardDog 3/21/2020 6:12:13 AM (No. 352813)
I remember watching a game where the Yanks faced Fidrych in 1976. He did talk to the ball! One of the Yankees, 3B Graig Nettles, came to the plate to face him and started talking to his bat! Phil Rizzuto, Bill White, and Frank Messer called the game for us Yankee fans on WPIX. Why do I have a tear in my eye?
7 people like this.

Reply 2 - Posted by: Yuban 3/21/2020 8:01:30 AM (No. 352880)
Yup, back in the day when baseball was hardball. Thanks for the post .
7 people like this.

Reply 3 - Posted by: NancyD 3/21/2020 8:13:47 AM (No. 352894)
The Bird was great for Detroit Tigers baseball. i remember watching him pitch and all of the fun things that Mark would do. My dad and I wouldn't miss a game on TV that he was pitching. This is a great article, light hearted just like Mark the Bird Fidrych.
4 people like this.

Reply 4 - Posted by: Zbogwan2 3/21/2020 8:38:22 AM (No. 352916)
"The Tigers rushed him back and he pitched great for a while. Then, he injured his arm trying to compensate for his distressed knee." Tiger Management pitched Mark Hard and frequently until he was washed out, so to speak? I was saddened when Mark tragically died, all alone, under his tractor!
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Reply 5 - Posted by: seamusm 3/21/2020 9:08:54 AM (No. 352938)
A reminder how important durability and just dumb luck plays in securing a Hall of Fame career. He certainly had the talent but one great year isn't enough. MLB could use more Fidrych's these days. Their moves to water down the post season and make it like high school where 'every' team makes the playoffs is only proof we miss players like 'The Bird'.
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Reply 6 - Posted by: Tiger Stadium 3/21/2020 11:39:20 AM (No. 353143)
Aside from the sheer innocence of Fidrych himself, was that of the game at the time and Tiger Stadium. In 1976 you still had photographers lining both foul lines. A site you could never imagine in today's game. That grand evening back in 1976 was truly the last time old Tiger Stadium was on display to the nation. A fire gutted the press box during the off season and thus the decision was made to renovate the old ballpark. Soon after blue and orange seats replaced the traditional green seats. A new video scoreboard in centerfield would take away the manual one that provided all the league scores and information a fan could ever want. The stadium at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull in Detroit would carry on until September of 1999, but the night The Bird pitched in front of a full house, and a stunned and amazed country, was the night Tiger Stadium as I knew it slowly faded away.
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Reply 7 - Posted by: BeatleJeff 3/21/2020 12:30:42 PM (No. 353232)
I went to a Tigers Spring training game back in 1978. Fidrych didn't didn't pitch in the game game that day but he did through a few in the warm-up cage, which naturally drew a crowd just to watch him throw.. I'm pretty sure my parents still have pictures from that day.
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