Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Goodbye Mark Fidrych
The following tribute was written by our friend John Dashner:
We lost a really neat human being today.
Mark Fidrych, sometimes known as “The Bird” because of his resemblance to the Sesame Street character was something special. He arrived in the majors with the Tigers in 1976 and immediately took the baseball world by storm by beating the hated Yankees on Monday night in front of a national TV audience.
He became rookie of the year after going 19 – 6 that year. He was enchanting to those of us who followed him, not because of the wins, but because of his spirit.
I personally witnessed his first start at old Tiger Stadium with our Cub Scout troop and marveled as he pitched a 1 hitter against the Cleveland Indians. Only a ground ball that bad hopped reliable Aurelio Rodriguez at third base accounted for the Indians only hit that gray, rainy day.
We watched as Fidrych smoothed the dirt on the mound, pep talked the ball and animatedly encouraged his fielders. After injuries beset him in following seasons and ultimately ended his career after only 58 games, he returned to civilian life in New England, not bitter but always thankful for what he so briefly possessed.
He would return to Detroit until his death, taking part in alumni activities and fantasy camps with the same boundless enthusiasm and spirit. And now he is gone –
We should all embrace every day like he did ----