Former MLB Pitcher Mark Fidrych passes away

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Mark Fidrych, former pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, was found dead. (Newsday File Photo / John H. Cornell Jr. / September 12, 1976)

Former Major League Baseball pitching phenom Mark Fidrych was found dead yesterday afternoon underneath his 10-wheel dump truck at his Northborough, Mass. farm. I knew him slightly from seeing him help out his wife Ann at her family’s business Chet’s Diner located on U.S. Rte. 20 in Northborough (see below).

chets6

Worcester County district attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. said a family friend found Fidrych about 2:30 p.m. Monday beneath a dump truck in Northborough, Mass., about 35 miles west of Boston. He appeared to have been working on the truck, Early said.

The curly haired right-hander was the American League Rookie of the Year in 1976 when he went 19-9 with a 2.34 ERA and 24 complete games. But injuries cut short his career, and he ended up spending only five seasons in the major leagues, all with the Detroit Tigers. He was 29-19 with a 3.10 ERA.

“The entire Detroit Tigers organization was saddened to learn of the passing of former player Mark Fidrych today,” the Tigers said in a statement. “Mark was beloved by Tigers fans and he was a special person with a unique personality. The Tigers send our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.”

Known by the nickname “the Bird” because of his resemblance to the Big Bird character on the Sesame Street television show. During games, he would bend down and groom the mound with his hands, talk to the baseball and slap five with teammates in the middle of the diamond.

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Mark had the distinction of being the first “Sports” figure to be
pictured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, (in other words
the first non-musical person). May 1977

Here is a video clip from ESPN with Peter Gammons talking about Mark http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=4066009

Condolences go out to Mark’s wife Ann and their daughter Jessica as well as to all the rest of their family and friends.

info for some of this post came from the ESPN website report – LAC