Sad news from Northboro today as fabled Tigers pitcher Mark the Bird Fidrych was found dead underneath his pick-up truck. Describing Fidrych at this point is a worthwhile exercise because everybody, and I mean everybody, knows about the charismatic Tigers Rookie of the Year from 1976. Being two years old at the time, I have no recollection of the Fidrych phenomenon beyond clips and stories. What I do know is I wish I had been in Tiger Stadium one of the magical nights he was pitching.
Lee Panas, who authors Detroit Tiger Tales, cites Fidrych as a major part of his fandom
I’ve been following the Tigers since 1968 and Mark Fidrych’s 1976 season was the single most thrilling individual season of my lifetime. Whenever I see that game against the Yankees that they show on ESPN or the MLB channel from time to time, I immediately go back 33 years to that night and remember how I felt watching the same game on television. It’s difficult to explain the Mark Fidrych experience to those who were not there to see it.
Lee remembered the 30 year anniversary of Fidrych’s 1976 season by chronicling it on his blog.