|Detroit Tigers Mark Fidrych|
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Part 3 of 11
The late Mark Fidrych burst onto the Major League scene with an unsuspectedly dominant rookie season.
After making the Detroit Tigers squad as a non-roster spring training invitee, Fidrych turned a mid-May starting opportunity into a spectacular American League Rookie of the Year season. He went on to record a 19-9 record as well as a league leading 2.34 ERA and 24 complete games.
"The Bird" (as he was nicknamed by a minor league coach) quickly became one of the most popular and entertaining players in baseball. Besides his stellar pitching, the free spirit captured fans hearts with various antics such as talking to the ball and himself, manicuring the mound on his knees, and many more too numerous to mention.
The following season Fidrych was off to a strong start when he suffered an arm injury. Although it was not diagnosed until much later, it was determined that he had a torn rotator cuff and never was the same pitcher again.
He won but 4 more games and finished his big league career in 1980. Sadly, Fidrych was killed in a farming accident in 2009.