Mark Fidrych was born on Saturday, August 14, 1954, in Worcester, Massachusetts. Fidrych was 21 years old when he broke into the big leagues on April 20, 1976, with the Detroit Tigers. His biographical data, year-by-year hitting stats, fielding stats, pitching stats (where applicable), career totals, uniform numbers, salary data and miscellaneous items-of-interest are presented by Baseball Almanac on this comprehensive Mark Fidrych baseball stats page.
Mark "The Bird" Fidrych Autograph on a 1981 Fleer Baseball Card (#462)
Mark Fidrych Pitching Stats
Mark Fidrych Hitting Stats
Mark Fidrych Fielding Stats
Mark Fidrych Miscellaneous Stats
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Mark Fidrych Miscellaneous Items of Interest
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|1976 Detroit Tigers||20||$60,000.00||Stats||-|
|1977 Detroit Tigers||20||$55,000.00||Stats||-|
|1978 Detroit Tigers||20||$90,000.00||-||-|
|1979 Detroit Tigers||20||$125,000.00||-||-|
|1980 Detroit Tigers||20||$125,000.00||-||-|
|Mark Fidrych Stats by Baseball Almanac|
Mark Fidrych was non-roster invitee with the Detroit Tigers during Spring Training in 1976. After being called-up a second time that year due to starter Joe Coleman having the flu, The Bird made the most of his first start ( May 15, 1976 ), throwing a complete game two-hitter. What happened next was nothing short of amazing and SABR historian described it best in his Mark Fidrych bio:
Mark Fidrych Biography (Excerpt):
Despite his performance, Fidrych was not yet made a regular starter for the Tigers . Ten days after defeating Cleveland, Fidrych next started against the Red Sox at Fenway Park. Despite pitching another complete game, Fidrych and the Tigers lost to the Red Sox 2-0 on a two-run home run by Carl Yastrzemski . But, based on his strong performance, Fidrych became a regular starter for the Tigers , and won his next eight starts.
Soon after he became a regular starter, sportswriters covering the Tigers
The game that firmly established the legend of Mark Fidrych was that June 28 against the Yankees . The national media had picked up on both Fidrych's success -- he was now 7-1 -- and his antics on the field. In turn, baseball fans and the American public were now taking notice of the Bird. The game, pitting Fidrych against the first-place Yankees , was televised nationally on ABC's "Monday Night Baseball" telecast and received a great deal of attention. Fans came in droves to attend the game at Tiger Stadium; 47,855 people attended the game, and it was reported that another 10,000 were turned away more than an hour before the game was scheduled to start. Fidrych shut down the Yankees , allowing seven hits, no walks, and just a solo homer by Elrod Hendricks as the Tigers won 5-1. Chants of "Go Bird Go!" echoed through the crowd throughout the game. The Yankees, however, were unimpressed with Fidrych and his non-pitching actions on the field. In particular, Thurman Munson , who did not play in the game due to a bruised knee, was angry and felt that Fidrych was showing up the Yankees. He was quoted as saying, "Tell that guy if he pulls that stuff in New York, we'll blow his fucking ass out of town." Willie Randolph , who admitted that he was distracted during his first at-bat against Fidrych, simply said, "You want to send a line drive right through his head."
Tigers fans, however, were ecstatic. After the game ended, Fidrych ran around the infield, shaking the hands of his teammates before going into the dugout and clubhouse to the ovation of the fans. After the game, as a light rain fell on the crowd, the fans did not leave. They chanted "We want the Bird! We want the Bird!" Fidrych finally returned the field, laughing and smiling at the crowd as he tipped his cap to them. Bob Prince, who was announcing the game on ABC, said that in his 35 years in baseball, he had never seen anything like this, and that it gave him goose bumps. Ernie Harwell later wrote that he thought Fidrych to be "the first big-leaguer to take curtain calls on a regular basis."
After the game, Tigers right fielder Rusty Staub said about Fidrych: "It's no act. Theres nothing contrived about him and that's what makes him a beautiful person." Staub continued, "There's an electricity that he brings out in everyone, the players and the fans. He's different. He's a 21-year-old kid with a great enthusiasm that everyone loves. He has an inner youth, an exuberance."
Following the victory against the Yankees , Fidrych was now a huge star. Having amassed a record of 9-2 and an ERA of 1.78, he was named the starter for the American League for the 1976 All-Star Game .
Read the rest of this must-read SABR Biography: ( Full Story )
The Bird gave up two runs in the first inning of the 1976 All-Star Game and was charged with the loss; however, he left the field unfazed and returned to his winning (and eccentric) ways - putting together a 19-win season, with a league leading 24 complete games , and the lowest earned run average (ERA), not just in the American League, but the lowest ERA amongst every single Major League pitcher that season (American League: Top 25 / National League: Top 25 ).
The Bird easily won the 1976 American League Rookie of the Year Award receiving 22 of the 24 possible votes ( Butch Wynegar received the other votes), becoming only the second Detroit Tigers to receive the honor - joining shortstop Harvey Kuenn (1953), making The Bird the first Tigers pitcher to win.
Mark Fidrych | Rolling Stone Magazine | May 5, 1977 | Baseball Almanac Collection
Did you know that when Annie Leibovitz photographed Mark Fidrych for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, he became the first (and to date only) baseball player to appear on the cover?
Last-Modified: February 1, 2018 10:05 AM EST