Mark Fidrych Biography
Mark Fidrych, better known to baseball fans as "the bird," was a pitcher for the Detroit Tigers from 1976 to 1980. He was a sensation in his rookie season. He won 19 games, led the American league in earned run average and complete games (24), was the starting pitcher in the All-Star Game, and won the American League Rookie of the Year Award. Early in the next season, Fidrych injured the rotator cuff in his shoulder and was never the same. Still, the brilliance of that first season—and his outsized personality—turned him into something of a baseball legend. "The bird"—so named because of his resemblence to the Sesame Street character Big Bird—was famous for talking to the ball, dropping to his knees to sculpt the pitcher's mound, and refusing to step on the first and third-base lines as he entered and exited the field. Fidrych died on April 13, 2009 at the age of 54. He had an accident while working on a truck on his farm in Massachusetts.