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Remembering Mark Fidrych

Lost in the depths of baseball depression felt amidst the death of Harry Kalas yesterday was the passing of another baseball great, even if his time in the spotlight lasted about 1/40th as long as Kalas.

Former Tigers pitcher Mark Fidrych died in the most surprising of manners, passing away in an accident that occurred while he was working on his pickup truck on his farm outside Northborough, Mass. It's an end that may have been gruesome, but somehow not surprising for "the Bird". After all, little about the Bird was ever surprising.

From his ranting at the ball before a pitch -- he used to try and speak to the ball to get it to "flow" -- to his long, curly hair, thick Massachusetts accent and overwhelming exuberance, Fidrych was an amazingly unique baseball player and human being.

Personally, there's few people whose highlights were more enjoyable to dig into years later. This is more in Tracee's wheelhouse as our resident Tigers fan, but even for a casual observer, it's hard not to get really excited watching Fidrych's lanky frame on the mound 32 years after he first captured the nation's imagination.

Just to stoke the flames, check out this interview with Fidrych circa 1985, a full eight years after his miraculous 19-9 rookie campaign with the Tigers. The Detroit News dug it up yesterday, but it's definitely worth taking a gander at a day later. We should all stop, if only momentarily, to bask in beauty of just how the t-shirt Fidrych is wearing is the absolute essence of 1985 (which means it's now for sale at Urban Outfitters for $31.99. On sale!). And feel free to chime in with your memories of "The Bird", whatever they may be.

By Cameron Smith  |  April 14, 2009; 11:42 AM ET
Categories:  Tigers  
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Next: Harry Kalas Tribute


Mark Fidrych was such a great pitcher. I was at the first game in Detroit Tiger Stadium when we started to chant "Go Bird go!" I was a little kid, the Tigers were in 5th place and Mark fidrych made that summer for me!

Posted by: celestun100 | April 14, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

I never saw him pitch in person but recently watched one of his classic games on the MLB Network. Must have been terrific to be there in person! He was definitely one of a kind.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 15, 2009 8:32 AM | Report abuse

So where are Tracee's thoughts?

Posted by: ilikeike | April 15, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

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