Day 16 of 30 Birds: “Mark ‘The Bird’ Fidrych” (SOLD)

Mark “The Bird” Fidrych, 1954 – 2009

In 1975, the Detroit Tigers finished last in the American League East with a record of 57-102. They were dismal. 1976 rolled around with little reason to expect the Tigers to be much better. They managed to win 74 games in ’76, thanks in large part to one of the most exciting players in the game that season: Mark “The Bird” Fidrych, a lanky 22 year old from Massachusetts, who led the league in ERA (2.34), started the All-Star Game for the AL, finished second in the Cy Young Award voting and was named AL Rookie of the Year. The Tigers paid him $16,500 that season, and awarded him a $25,000 bonus. They then signed him to a 3-year, $255,000 contract. But sadly, The Bird (so-called because of his curly blond mop and height, which reminded people of Sesame Street’s Big Bird), wrecked his knee, then tore his rotator cuff and pitched his last game for Detroit in 1980. Still, he gave Tiger fans some of the best moments ever, made the cover of “Rolling Stone,” talked to the ball, and won 19 games during that Bicentennial summer. I rank him up there on the best of ’76 list with “All in the Family”, “The Bad News Bears” and the Sylvers’ “Boogie Fever.” The Bird died on April 13, 2009 at the age of 54. I’m glad he was in this world the same time I was.

I’m doing 30 original works this month. The theme for December is birds. All kinds of birds.

30 original pieces, and yes, they’re for sale. And they’re affordable: $99, which includes free first-class shipping. You can order on my Etsy store by clicking here. Check this blog every day (or the Etsy store) to see the new one. Each one will be 5″ by 7″ on sturdy illustration board.

Last month’s theme was food and drink, this month it’s birds. Any other themes you’d suggest?

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2 Comments

Filed under 30 Birds in 31 days, birds, original art

2 responses to “Day 16 of 30 Birds: “Mark ‘The Bird’ Fidrych” (SOLD)

  1. The Bird was the greatest. As a sandlot baseball playing dreamer of a kid I could especially relate to The Bird. I think his appeal was in expressing the joy and gratitude we’d all imagine feeling if we were so able to play in the big leagues. Loved how he sculpted the mound with his hands and threw back balls that he felt had hits in them.

    • Nice, Mark. I agree. The Bird played with pure joy, just being himself out there. I had the good fortune to see him pitch at Tiger Stadium that summer. He creamed the opposition (I think it was KC) in under two hours, as I recall.

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