Beloved Tiger, Mark Fidrych, has died

Beloved Tiger, Mark Fidrych, has diedBeloved Tiger, Mark Fidrych, has died

Mark Fidrych, beloved Tiger pitcher known as The Bird, was killed in a truck accident at his Massachusetts farm yesterday.

As a gawky 21 year old, Fidrych delighted baseball fans in 1976 with his irrepressible exuberance for the game. The New York Times, noting his cloud of blonde curls atop his 6'3" frame and his goofy antics on the field, compared him to Big Bird. The shortened nickname, The Bird, stuck ever after.

In his very first major league game in May 1976, The Bird had seven no-hit innings. The Tigers won that game against the Cleveland Indians 2-1.

Just one year later, Fidrych suffered a couple of serious injuries to his arm that quickly derailed his career.

Mark Fidrych was just 54 years old.