Here is a custom I created of Mark The Bird Fidrych! The left shows the real card I made, the middle is the back, and the right is a photoshopped big bird patch I put in for fun 🙂
The story of Fidrych is a fascinating one. He was a national sensation, who was as attractively eccentric to crowds as he was skilled as a pitcher.
In 1976, when The Bird wasn’t pitching, Detroit would have about 14k on hand. When he was pitching, the game attendance would swell on average to nearly 34k.
Fans would chant “We want The Bird!” and refuse to leave until he made a curtain call.
In one of Bill James’ baseball books, he quoted the Yankees’ Graig Nettles as telling about an at-bat against Fidrych, who, as usual, was talking to the ball before pitching to Nettles. Immediately Graig jumped out of the batter’s box and started talking to his bat. He reportedly said, “Never mind what he says to the ball. You just hit it over the outfield fence!” Nettles struck out. “D***,” he said. “Japanese bat. Doesn’t understand a word of English.”
Fidrych’s career was cut extremely short due to injury, but his celebrity status lives on.