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Monday, April 13, 2009

Mark "The Bird" Fidrych, 1955-2009

An amiable goofball, also known for his knuckleball, I saw him pitch a couple of times in Fenway Park for the Tigers against the Red Sox, most memorably against another goofball, Bill "Spaceman" Lee (with whom once, in a grubby bar in Boston, I argued communist agrarian policy in Red China--he for, I against).

The press had a field day with Fidrych, regarding him rather like Mr. Dick in David Copperfield, attributing great depth to his simple observations and pronouncements. Alas, there wasn't much depth to them at all but he was still a sweet, hardworking ball player who would have enjoyed a much longer career were it not for injuries. He pitched only 58 games.

I remember reading an interview with Fidrych done in his swell new digs in Detroit, just after he had signed with the Tigers. The reporter noted the lack of a telephone and asked him why. His response: "Who would I call?"

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