One-Time Wonders

May 28, 2013

This is about the time of a baseball season that some of those flashy rookies start hitting the skids. They start to face the pitchers or hitters for the second or third time around and their weaknesses are exposed. One of those wonders was Mark “The Bird” Fidrych of the Detroit Tigers. He did last a whole season, and it was quite a memorable one. I believe he had 19 wins that year, but that is not what he will be remembered for. It was all the antics he did before and after a pitch. He would paw at the dirt, talk to the ball, crouch down between pitches, throw balls out of the game after someone hit it, and shake any hand he could before and after a game. He was 19-9 that season but only 10-10 the rest of his career. Most of his trouble after his rookie year was a rotator cuff injury. That magic season of 1976 put him on all the talk shows, got him commercials, and made “The Bird” a household name. His ERA was 2.34 and he was rookie of the year. The 19 wins would have put him on the map itself, but all the antics made him the darling of the baseball world for one season. He faded away before you could say “Legend” and died in 2009 from a truck accident on his farm in the Boston area. For one glorious season he sure had everyone rooting for the Tigers, and every news cast showing some antic “The Bird” did. Most people believe he was not trying to be a showman, but just being himself.

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