today’s word?… the BIRD

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One of the things that I enjoy most about writing for this blog is the fact that it is absolutely adored by the smartest and most sophisticated people surfing the internet today. I’m not sure why that is. Perhaps it is your fascination with the methods I employ in the stringing together the simplest of words. Beyond that, who doesn’t enjoy a good train wreck?

Being so smart, I’m sure that you figured out from the title that this blog entry is dedicated to Mark Fidrych. Easily named the American League Rookie of the Year in 1976, while just missing out on the Cy Young award that was awarded to Jim Palmer, “The Bird” was out of major league baseball by 1980. I wonder if his short career had anything to do with his pitching back-to-back, complete 11-inning games his rookie season, beating the Brewers and Rangers in succession. The Bird twirled two-dozen complete games in 1976, and a total of 34 complete games in 54 career starts. Even Andy Warhol must have been impressed by the young man’s work ethic.

Although Fidrych’s stats are impressive, it was his character that sealed his spot in the Aardvark Attic of Appreciation. I am pleased to announce that Mark was gracious enough to autograph two cardboard plaques to be placed on permanent display in his honor.

fidrych_mark_2001_topps_archives_302_1977_no_7

This 2001 Topps Archives card (no. 302 of 450) celebrates The Bird having beaten Vida Blue by a mere percentage point to be named the American League ERA leader in 1976.

As serious of a business that baseball is, it is refreshing when a player appears on the scene and reminds fans that it is also okay to enjoy what you do. If you just relocated here from the moon and haven’t seen clips of Mark talking to a baseball while on the mound, do yourself a favor and seek them out online. There is an interesting Mark Fidrych interview available on YouTube worth watching if you don’t have too many issues with Steve Stone.

fidrych_mark_2001_topps_archives_379_1981_no_150

Another 2001 Topps Archives card (no. 379 of 450) featuring Mark Fidrych depicts him at the end of his career in the bigs. TTM graphers should note that Mark prefers to sign autographs using a ballpoint pen.

It has been reported that rookie sensation Mark Fidrych once pondered out loud whether or not he could reply to all of his fan mail since he only earned $16,500, the league minimum. So keep that in mind if you decide to request an autograph from Mark thru the mail. Be sure to include a self-addressed stamped envelope!

One of my favorite quotes attributed to Mark Fidrych is “Sometimes I get lazy and let the dishes stack up, but they don’t stack too high. I’ve only got four dishes.” Mark’s autobiography, No Big Deal, is available online and probably through your local library’s interlibrary loan program.

– Kris

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