This news is still breaking, but Mark “The Bird” Fidrych has been pronounced dead after an accident while doing repairs on his pickup truck.
The official statement reads,
Mark Fidrych has died, the Worcester District Attorney’s office announced on Monday. The D.A.’s office said Fidrych was found by a family friend underneath a pickup truck at his Northboro home around 2:30 p.m. He appeared to have been working on the truck at the time of the accident.
In the minor leagues one of his coaches dubbed the lanky right-handed pitcher “The Bird” because of his resemblance to “Big Bird” of the Sesame Street television program. Mark Fidrych passed away at the age of 54 on Monday April 13th, 2009 while working on his pickup truck in his hometown of Northborough, MA.
Fidrych made the Tigers as a non-roster invitee out of the 1976 spring training, not making his major-league debut until April 20, and not making his first start until mid-May. He only made that start because the scheduled starting pitcher had the flu. Fidrych responded by throwing seven no-hit innings, ending the game with a 2-1 victory in which he only gave up two hits. He went on to win a total of 19 games, led the league in ERA (2.34) and complete games (24), was the starting pitcher in that year’s All-Star Game, won the American League Rookie of the Year Award, and finished second in voting for the Cy Young Award.
This is such a tragic day for baseball. Earlier today, broadcaster Harry Kalas collapsed and died in the broadcast booth, and now this.