On 40th anniversary, author recalls sensation created by Mark 'The Bird' Fidrych

May 10, 2016

Forty years ago this week, Detroit Tiger rookie Mark Fidrych took the mound for his first start at Michigan and Trumbull. Al Martin interviews biographer Doug Wilson about his 2013 book, "The Bird: The Life and Legacy of Mark Fidrych."

Mark Fidrych joined the Detroit Tigers in 1976. He was known for his antics on the mound, and for shaking hands with nearly everyone after games.
Credit Flickr/Ed McDonald

Gerald Ford is President; our nation comes together for a bvicentennial party; a little film called "Rocky" tops the movie box office; and the Detroit Tigers are heading for a fifth place finish in the American League Eastern Division.

The Tigers also have baseball's biggest star.

Pitcher Mark Fidrych took baseball and the sports world by storm in 1976. His 19 wins brought him Rookie of the Year honors and an All-Star game appearance. Fidrych's hyperactive pitching antics captured the imagination of fans across the country.

His tall stature and gangly strut around the infield earned him the nickname The Bird.

By mid-season, a Fidrych start on the mound guaranteed a packed stadium anywhere in the league.

A 2013 book by lifelong Tiger fan Doug Wilson remembers Fidrych, who died in 2009.

Current Sports host Al Martin spoke with Wilson about his bio "The Bird: The Life and Legacy of Mark Fidrych.”