Monday, March 25, 2013

SAY SOMETHING GOOD ABOUT DETROIT: The-Bird-Life-Legacy-Fidrych


This was certainly one of the best things to happen in Detroit in 1976. But it was almost a one-year career. It was also the year my son discovered baseball and sports. He was six and his love of sports has certainly lasted.

In fact, the first game the four of us attended was this famous one.

From Wikipedia: 
June 28, 1976: The Tigers faced the Yankees on Monday Night Baseball, with 47,855 attending at Tiger Stadium and a national television audience, "The Bird" talked to the ball and groomed the mound, as the Tigers won, 5-1 in a game that lasted only 1 hour and 51 minutes. After the game, the crowd would not leave the park until Fidrych came out of the dugout to tip his cap.

Can you think of a better game to take your kid to? Even his sister got a kick out of it at age five. 

Mark lifted the city at a time (and that seems to be any time since the sixties) that the city needed lifting. 
The origin of the original phrase "SAY SOMETHING NICE ABOUT DETROIT" came from two shopkeepers in the Tiger Stadium neighborhood in fact. Detroit has had a poor self image as long as I have lived here.

My son started collecting baseball cards that year and has a ton of them including Mark's. Are baseball cards worth anything today?    

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes, it was sad. Fidrych's career was just way too short.

My favorite Tiger was Al Kaline. I'm glad he got to win a World Series.

Jeff M.

pattinase (abbott) said...

A great player but as a Tiger announcer for years, he let you know it every day. No team was as good as the 1968 Tigers, no players were as good as theirs. An arrogant guy I came to dislike. Sorry to throw stones.

Anonymous said...

Hey, you're there and hear him all the time. You'd know more than me. We only saw him play when they faced the Yankees.

There are a lot of great players who are arrogant like that. On the other hand, there are great but humble players like Mariano Rivera.

Jeff M.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I cannot begin to convey to you what it is like to drive through most parts of Detroit. An atom bomb could not do more damage. (Except to human life, of course).

Chris said...

I was an avid baseball card collector when I was a kid. I loved the Big Red Machine, and the Pirates, then, when the Seattle Mariners became a franchise, started cheering for them. I always had a soft spot for Detroit; still do. I know a lot of good people from Michigan, so I am eager to get back there.

I read a book last year called Cardboard Gods, by Josh Wilker. I enjoyed it. It was a memoir of his life growing up as a baseball fanatic, and each chapter was kind of built around a card from his collection. What was great about it is he is of my age, so the cards he had were the same ones I did. I really liked it.

pattinase (abbott) said...

GreT gift idea!

John said...

There has never been a more interesting baseball player since. Eccentric and comical and wholly unique. The first baseball game my Dad ever took me to, sometime in the early 1970s, was at Yankee Staduim: Detroit Tigers against the Yankees. It was a double header ,too. Fidrych's antics on the pitcher's mound was fascinating to me. I'd never have enjoyed baseball if it hadn't been for him.

George said...

Bill Crider has a legendary collection of baseball cards. My Mom threw my collection away. To the right collector, some of the baseball cards are priceless.

Anonymous said...

My brother and I collected cards in the early 1960's but like George my mother got rid of ours.

Sometimes it pays to be a hoarder.


Jeff M.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I knew enough not to toss Josh's so he has them in four huge storage cases. All in albums. He has many that are autographed. He used to send them to the player and many returned them signed.

Chris said...

I used to write athletes for autographs too. I bet they don't even do that anymore. Too many jerks turning around and selling them on eBay.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Even then there was the idea it was adults sending the cards and then selling them a card shows. So after a while, they stopped returning them.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I just sent CARDBOARD GODS to my son, Chris. See how easy impulse buying is. He will love it.

pattinase (abbott) said...

John-And the nice thing about Mark was it never went to his head. He was grateful for the years he had and then went back to MA and became a farmer until his tractor did him in.

Chris said...

Patti, Cardboard Gods was an impulse for me too. I didn't regret it. I hope he likes it!

pattinase (abbott) said...

I know he will. He is the most eclectic reader of any of us. And baseball plus coming of age stories ranks high. Right now he is reading a Laura Lippman book as he prepares to argue in front of the Michigan Supreme Court for the 8th time.

Toe Hallock said...

Patti: Harvey Kuenn was my favorite Tiger back in the day. His baseball bat, a Wilson I think, helped me achieve a .391 batting average my second year in Pony League. Best season ever. At one point, went six for six with it. Then cracked it with my seventh in a row on a liner over second base. Broke my heart, too. My best season ever. Yours truly, Toe.

Kent Morgan said...

Just got back last night from Florida where I caught the Tigers against the Blue Jays in Dunedin and then watched them beat the Marlins on Monday in Jupiter. When I was a young boy the Tigers were my favourite team and I still think I can name more former Tigers than any other team. Seeing that I played shortstop, I also liked Harvey Kuenn. Norm Cash later was a guy I enjoyed. I just read this morning that pitcher Virgil (Fire) Trucks passed while I was vacationing. I have Cardboard Gods, but The Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading and Bubble Gum Book by Brendan C. Boyd and Fred C. Harris is a classic. I have plenty of cards in boxes and binders in my basement, but nothing of much value. Last year I helped a friend sell a collection of old cards that included a couple of Ty Cobbs and a Babe Ruth through an auction at the Major League all-star game and they brought some decent bucks.