April 13, 2009
They say that bad news comes in threes and today it's sadly proving true for the baseball world.
According to Worcester District Attorney's office, Mark "The Bird" Fidrych died in an accident on Sunday while working on his pickup truck at his home in Northborough, Mass. He was 54 years old.
Like many, I'm too young to have ever seen Fidrych pitch, but his performances at Tiger Stadium in 1976 — when he won 19 games as an eccentric rookie with a goofy windup — have always been at the top of my "baseball time travel" list.
I mean, what baseball fan wouldn't have wanted to be in those stands on June 28, 1976, the night that Fidrych threw a complete game win against the Yankees on national television and then tried to calm the fans down with a curtain call before the grandstands collapsed? How many regular season games are remembered like that one? How many rookies have ever created as big a phenomenon as Fidrych did? Not many.
Eerily, the MLB Network just showed that game this past Saturday and I'm betting that they'll show it again in tribute to one of baseball's brightest but short-lived shooting stars. If you'd like to know a little more about Fidrych, check out this video below.