GREAT BASEBALL NICKNAMES: ‘THE BIRD’- MARK FIDRYCH

Magazine Cover Art Print featuring the photograph Detroit Tigers Mark Fidrych And Sesame Streets Big Bird Sports Illustrated Cover by Sports Illustrated

Great Baseball Nicknames:’ The Bird’- Mark Fidrych. Mark ‘The Bird’ Fidrych’s time in the sun was very short- the summer of 1976. He had an incredible rookie season with the Detroit Tigers. He seemed to have come out of nowhere. He wasn’t a highly touted prospect. He not only pitched excellent baseball that summer but was a real genuine character. He caught the public’s imagination – doing things like talking to the baseball. Anymore we seem to have manufactured characters- players who are calculating – marketing themselves. Mark Fidrych was just a character. He was real. I was lucky enough to see his first game on television- it was on the Game of The Week one Saturday early in the season. I looked in the paper to see the pitching match up and I saw a name I wasn’t familiar at all with Fidrych [0-0] pitching for the Tigers. His odd mannerisms caught my attention that day- and his enthusiasm. It wasn’t long before he caught the attention of all of baseball and was drawing sell out crowds on the days he pitched. He was a rock star. Sadly in spring training the next season he was injured, tried to come back to soon and hurt his arm- and was soon out of baseball. He never ‘cashed in’ with the big money contract- but never seemed bitter about his fate. “The Bird”- nickname came about with his resemblance to Seseme Streets’s Big Bird. He is also the only baseball player to ever made it on the cover of the Rolling Stone. Tragically Mark “The Bird” Fidrych was killed in a freak dump truck accident in 2009- at the young age of 54. Below also- a song written by The Baseball Project- ‘1976’- about Mark.

Tigers History on Twitter: "May 5, 1977: Mark Fidrych appears on the cover  of Rolling Stone. Remains the only baseball player to appear on the cover  https://t.co/AORL7FbDRO… https://t.co/DWrdcJUmRb"
Sports Stars on the Cover of Rolling Stone - Rolling Stone

9 responses to “GREAT BASEBALL NICKNAMES: ‘THE BIRD’- MARK FIDRYCH

  1. Thanks for the nice tribute. I remember watching The Bird on Game of the Week back then too. After baseball, he lived in Central Mass. where he was from, so I would see occasional articles about him in the Boston Globe. That song perfectly captures that sense of nostalgia and sadness whenever I think of him.

    • He was a much needed breathe of fresh air. Love that song. I will always remember that Monday Night Baseball game when he beat the Yankees. Tigers Stadium was rocking that night.

  2. I remember him well even though I probably only saw him once or twice on TV. If only he’d come along 20 years later, arthroscopic surgery might have given him a lengthy career. But , 35 years on we still remember him and the Baseball Project sing about him, so he did a lot in a short time

    • One of the great mysteries that has been discussed- would an injury free Bird had had a long and successful career. His rookie season 250 IP with only 97 strike outs. Not a recipe for long term success- its hard to find anyone who has had long term success with such low strike out totals.. of course he had great control and only walked 53 that year.. we will never know. I just wish he had played long enough to have cashed in $$$ but he seems to have lived a happy life.

    • if i recall correctly he was horsing around in the outfield in spring training in 1977 and hurt his knee- when he came back at first he was doing fine- then hurt his arm- back then-that was curtains. today probably not.

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