Phenom is a word that describes Mark Fidrych, who died April 13, 2009, in an apparent accident on his farm. In 1976 he was as close as it comes to being as being as good as it gets. Rookie of the year, second in Cy Young voting, American League ERA leader, and top five in wins and shutouts. That’s pretty darn phenomenal for a rookie. What really made Fidrych a household name, however, in addition to his talent, was his personality. He talked to the baseball, fixed the dirt on the mound with his hands and congratulated his infielders for a good play inside the diamond. He only played baseball 5 years and retired after the 1980 season due to injury. There are few instances of someone who played so few years in a sport and are remembered for their character and accomplishments more than 30 years later. Mark “The Bird” Fidrych is one of them. He was one of a kind.

Mark Fidrych (1954 -2009)