Mark Fidrych

Mark Fidrych

The Bird
August 14, 1954
6' 3"
175 lbs
Major League Debut:
4-20-1976 with DET
Allstar Selections:
1976 ROOK

Quotes About Mark Fidrych

"When he starts pitching, the other clubs in the league will be calling up the Red Sox asking them to start him in their park. They'll be sending me cases of scotch to change the pitching rotation!" Red Sox manager Ralph Houk on the attempted comeback by Mark Fidrych in 1982

Quotes From Mark Fidrych

"I don't talk to the ball. Sure, I say things like 'flow' and 'snap it off,' but I'm talking to myself, not the ball." — Mark Fidrych, explaining his antics on the mound

Mark Fidrych Teammates

Bruce Kimm
Jason Thompson
Lou Whitaker
Aurelio Rodriguez
Alan Trammell
Steve Kemp
Ron LeFlore
Kirk Gibson
Rusty Staub
Jack Morris
Ver Ruhle
Dave Rozema
Dan Petry
Milt Wilcox
John Hiller
Ralph Houk

Best Season: 1976

He went 19-9 with a league-leading 2.34 ERA. Three times he pitched six straight complete games, and he won eight straight games at one point. He was chosen to start the All-Star Game, which he lost. He hurled a two-hitter, a four-hitter, and five five-hitters. Fidrych was a distant second to Jim Palmer in Cy Young voting, but was named AL Rookie of the Year.

Bird Fever

Fidrych so captured the imagination of Detroit fans in 1976 that at least one baby was named after him. Another manifestation of the mania Fidrych created in the city was that female fans raided barber shops he frequented in an effort to obtain souvenir locks of his curly hair. Other girls asked their hairdressers to make their coifs look like his. Even a model copied his hairdo, calling it her "Fidrych Frizzies."

No Frills Fidrych

Fidrych was a simple man. Even at the height of his popularity he wore blue jeans, drove a beat-up old pickup truck, and claimed he had three dishes: a plate, a knife, and a fork.

Tiger Rookies

In 1976 Fidrych became the second Tiger to be named Rookie of the Year (Harvey Kuenn, 1953). In 1977 Detroit added another fine rookie pitcher in Dave Rozema (who finished 4th in ROY voting). In '78 Lou Whitaker, Alan Trammell, and Lance Parrish formed a rookie trio, with "Sweet Lou" taking the AL Rookie of the Year honor.

Where He Played

Starting pitcher (all but two games)

Nine Other Players Who Debuted in 1976
Andre Dawson
Dale Murphy
Willie Wilson
Garry Templeton
Dennis Martinez
Bruce Sutter
Rick Sutcliffe
Joaquin Andujar
Mark Fidrych



The Bird:

"The Bird," because of his resemblance to "Big Bird" of Sesame Street.

Uniform Numbers
#20 (1976-1980)

Similar Players
Dontrelle Willis

Related Players
Dave Rozema, Jack Morris, Bruce Kimm

The Pitches He Threw
Fastball, change-up, curve, slider

Awards and Honors

1976 AL Rookie of the Year


In his brief career, Fidrych started 56 games, and completed 34 of them (61%)... Five times he pitched into extra innings, winning games that he pitched into the 11th inning three times... Fidrych pitched a two-hitter, one three-hitter, one four-hitter, and seven five-hitters, among his 34 career complete games.


June 5, 1974: Drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 10th round of the 1974 amateur draft; October 5, 1981: Released by the Detroit Tigers; February 25, 1982: Signed as a Free Agent with the Boston Red Sox.

Trivia Question

Who was Mark Fidrych's personal catcher in 1976?

Trivia Answer

Bruce Kimm


Lerrin LaGrow

Replaced By

Jack Morris was given a chance in the Tigers' 1977 rotation due to Fidrych's injury.

Best Strength as a Player
Control, and crowd-appeal.

Largest Weakness as a Player Failure to curb his enthusiasm, which ultimately resulted in a foolish injury that led to his arm troubles.


This day in baseball history

December 26

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More Baseball History

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