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Mark Fidrych Diary

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July 14, 1976

The all-star game was last night and these were the starting line-ups:

American League

Ron Leflore LF

Rod Carew 1B

George Brett 3B

Thurman Munson C

Freddie Lynn CF

Toby Harrah SS

Rusty Staub RF

Bobby Grich 2B

Mark Fidrych P

National League

Pete Rose 3B

Steve Garvey 1B

Joe Morgan 2B

George Foster CF

Greg Luzinski LF

Johnny Bench C

Dave Kingman RF

Dave Concepcion SS

Randy Jones P

It was cool to see three Tigers starting the game. I’ve talked a lot about Fidrych’s stats in previous entries but Leflore and Staub are also having good seasons. Leflore is batting .330 with 50 runs scored and 29 stolen bases. Staub is hitting .310 with 6 homers, 17 doubles and 48 RBI.

Fidrych did not have a good night. Rose led off the game with a single and scored on a triple by Garvey. Another run scored on a grounder by Foster. Fidrych pitched 2 innings allowing 4 hits and 2 runs. Two runs was all the National League needed as they went on to win 7-1. It was their 13th win in the last 14 years.

The other Tigers made contributions offensively. Leflore had a single in two at bats and Staub had two singles in two at bats. It was not nearly enough though. Now it’s back to the regular season with a 4 game series versus the A’s. Fidrych is scheduled to pitch Friday night on just two days rest.

July 17, 1976

Fidrych pitched against the A’s last night after just two days rest. He only only pitched 2 innings in the all-star game Tuesday but I was surprised to see him pitch so soon. I thought they would give him a little extra rest. Are they pushing him a little too much? He pitched against Mike Torrez who came into the game 8-9 3.52. The Athletics have a couple of league leaders on their team – Sal Bando with 19 home runs and Bill North with 42 stolen bases.

Fidrych breezed through the first 6 innings allowing just a hit and a walk, facing the minimum number of batters and retiring 16 in a row at one point. Torrez was just as sharp giving up just a single and double.

Fidrych allowed two singles and a walk in the 7th but the A’s could not score. The A’s got two more men on base in the 8th but again failed to score. The game remained scoreless after 9 innings. Torrez, who allowed just 5 hits and no walks was relieved by Rollie Fingers in the 9th. The Bird stayed in the game.

It stayed scoreless until the bottom of the 11th. Ron Leflore led off with a single. Tom Veryzer sacrificed him to second. Rusty Staub was walked intentionally. Then, Willie Horton, in his second game since returning from his knee injury, singled home Leflore to win the game. Fidrych ran onto the field and gave Horton a big hug. The final score was 1-0 Tigers in 11 innings.

Fidrych is now 10-2 with 11 complete games (including 3 that went 11 innings) and a 1.60 ERA. There were 46,000 fans in Tiger Stadium. That makes 196,000 fans for the last 4 home games in which Fidrych has pitched. As usual, the crowd would not go home until Fidrych made a curtain call. Both managers commented on the festive atmosphere at the park. Chuck Tanner claimed that “It was better than a World Series game”. Ralph Houk said: “I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s the damndest thing.”

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July 21, 1976

Fidrych faced the Twins at Metropolitan Stadium in Minnesota today. It was not a sell out but there were over 30,000 fans in Minnesota for the first time this year. The Twins had a little surprise for the Bird before the game. As Fidrych warmed up prior to the first ining, 13 pigeons were released around the pitcher’s mound. It was good natured fun but I think they were also hoping to mess with his concentration. I think the 13 pigeons were supposed to represent his 13th start.

Fidrych fell behind 3-0 after 4 innings. The Twins scored 2 runs in the 3rd and 1 in the 4th. Tony Oliva was involved in the scoring both innings, scoring a run in the 3rd and driving in a run in the 4th. He ended up 4 hits for the game.

Rusty Staub tied the game with a 3 run homer off Bill Singer in the 6th. Aurelio Rodriguez then singled home Jason Thompson to make it 4-3 after 6 innings. In the 7th, Bruce Kimm, The Bird’s personal catcher, led off with a double and Ron Leflore belted a 2 run homer. Thompson singled home another run making it 7-3 after 7 innings.

Staub completed the scoring with a sacrifice fly in the 8th. The final score was 8-3 Tigers. After so many late inning victories, including three 11 inning complete games, Fidrych finally had a relatively easy win. He is now 11-2 with 1.71 ERA and 12 complete games.

July 25, 1976

The Tigers played the Indians on NBC’s Saturday game of the week yesterday. Fidrych was originally supposed to pitch today on four day’s rest but he was moved up one day so he could pitch in the nationally televised game. There were over 37,000 fans at Cleveland Stadium to watch the Bird.

The Tigers got off to a good start scoring a run in each of the first 4 innings against Jackie Brown. In the first inning, Tom Veryzer singled, went to second when Rusty Staub walked and scored on a double by Willie Horton. In the second, Ron Leflore reached on a fielders choice, stole second and scored on a single by Veryzer. Then, in the third, Jason Thompson hit a solo homer. Finally, in the fourth, Leflore walked, went to second on a single by Veryzer and scored on a Staub single. It was 4-0 Tigers after 3 ½ innings.

Fidrych allowed 3 hits but no runs in the first three innings. In the fourth, Rico Carty led off with a single. George Hendrick followed with another single and Carty came around to score when Staub bobbled the ball. Hendrick then scored on a Bruce Kimm throwing error. Boog Powell also singled but Fidrych escaped with no further damage. It was 4-2 Tigers after 4 innings.

In the fifth inning, John Lowenstein singled, Rick Manning doubled and Carty walked to load the bases with one out. Hendrick then tied the game with a two run single. At this point, Ralph Houk removed Fidrych from the game and replaced him with John Hiller. Hiller got out of the inning and it was 4-4 after 5 innings.

Hiller finished up the game pitching 4 2/3 shutout innings. The Tigers won the game 5-4 when Ben Oglivie hit a solo home run in the eighth. So the Tigers bailed out Fidrych but it was the first time in 14 starts that he failed go 7 innings and the second time he didn’t complete the game. Houk indicated after the game that Fidrych may have been tired: “He wasn’t sharp. He was pitching with too short rest. I was afraid he wouldn’t have good stuff and he didn’t.” It sounds like Houk might not hve been too happy with the front office’s decision to move him up for the game of the week. We can probably expect 4 days rest before his next start.

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August 4, 1976

Fidrych faced the Yankees last night for the first time since that Monday night game in June where he beat the Yankees and gained national recognition for his pitching and his antics on the mound. This one was played in Yankee Stadium before 44,000 noisy Yankee fans.

The Tigers got off to a good start in this one. In the first inning, Ron Leflore singled and stole second. Rusty Staub walked with one out. Willie Horton reached on an error by Graig Nettles and Leflore scored on another error by Sandy Alomar. Jason Thompson then hit a sacrifice fly to score Staub.

The Yankees came back in the third. Fred Stanley led off with a single. One out later, Roy White hit a two run homer to tie the game 2-2.

It didn’t take long for the Tigers to get the lead back. In the top of the 4th, Veryzer led off with a single. Rusty Staub followed with a walk. Horton then singled to score Veryzer for the go ahead run. The Tigers led 3-2 after 4 innings.

In the Yankee 7th, Nettles led off with a single. Oscar Gamble followed with a two run home run to give the Yankees a 4-3 lead. This was only the second time Fidrych had given up more than one homer in a game. He has allowed 7 homers in 16 starts for the season. John Hiller replaced The Bird in the 8th. The final score was 4-3 Yankees. Fidrych is now 11-4 and still leads the league with a 1.96 ERA.

Billy Martin tried to psych out Fidrych before the game. He bought some black beans and had Nettles spread them around the mound before The Bird pitched in the first inning. After the game, Martin said: “I was feeding the Bird during the game. You’re allowed to feed the Bird, aren’t you? I fed The Bird home runs.” It wasn’t all bad from Martin though. Later, he admitted: ”He’s a damn good pitcher, that kid. He’s colorful too.”

Fidrych said that he saw the beans but ignored them. He also had no excuses: ”I can’t believe it. Those pitchers were low and they golfed them out. I talked to the ball but that’s life I guess. I shoulda won the game. But I blew it. I had my defense behind me. They played un-godly behind me and I gave up two taters.”

August 8, 1976

The Tigers played the Indians on The Game of The Week today. One of the great things about having The Bird on the team is that they show up on the game of the week quite a bit. Without Fidrych, they would never show a game between these two teams. Fidrych had not won a game since July 20 and had not been as sharp recently as he was earlier in the season. There was talk on the pre-game show about his perhaps being tired.

The Tigers got off to a quick start in the first inning. After Ron Leflore led off with a single, Dan Meyer was safe at first when Leflore was forced at second on his grounder. Meyer then stole second and went to third on a Ben Oglivie single. Rusty Staub followed with a sacrifice fly to drive home the first run of the game.

Fidrych pitched perfectly through the first four innings and he looked very determined and in control doing it. Rico Carty led off the 5th with a walk for the Indians first base runner. He went to second on a single by Buddy Bell. Alan Ashby singled to center to tie the game at 1-1.

The Tigers came right back in the bottom of the 5th. Chuck Scrivener led off with a walk and Bruce Kimm sacrificed him to second. Leflore then singled to left scoring Scrivener and he moved up to second on the throw. Leflore scored on a single by Meyer. Ben Oglivie followed with a single advancing Meyer to third. Finally, with two out, Jason Thompson singled home Meyer to make the score 4-1 Tigers.

The Tigers did some more damage in the 6th. Kimm doubled with two outs. Leflore and Meyer both walked to loads the bases. Oglivie then singled home two runs and upped the lead to 6-1. This would be the final score.

Fidrych allowed 1 run on 6 hits in route to his 14th complete game. He did not look at all like a tired pitcher in today’s game. He is now 12-4 with a 1.91 ERA. The Tigers are now in 5th place with a record of 50-56 and are 14 games behind.

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August 12, 1976

Fidrych pitched against the Rangers last night before over 36,000 fans at Tiger Stadium. I read in The Sporting News this week that the Tigers have averaged about 36,000 fans in Fidrych's home starts including close to 46,000 in his last 5 starts. In Tiger home games when Fidrych has not pitched, they have averaged about 17,000 fans. So, you could say the The Bird brings in almost 30,000 extra fans per start. That's not bad for a guy who is making a league minimun $17,000.

Facing Fidrych was Gaylord Perry who came into the game with a record of 11-8 and a 3.31 ERA. Perry has been accused of throwing spitballs his whole career but has never actually been caught. Most people seem to think he does throw it and that many others do as well. He is also constantly touching his belt and his cap to make batters think it is coming whether it is or not.

It was a see saw game throughout. The Rangers scored first in the 2nd inning on a passed ball by Bruce Kimm which brought home Mike Hargrove who had singled to lead off the inning. The Tigers tied it 1-1 in the 3rd on consecutive singles by Dan Meyer, Rusty Staub and Jason Thompson.

The Rangers took the lead back in the 4th on a Mike Hargrove home run. The Tigers then tied it 2-2 in the 5th on Rusty Staub’s 11th home run of the year.

The Tigers took the lead 3-2 in the 6th when Aurelio Rodriguez tripled and scored on a single by Alex Johnson. The Rangers came back in the 7th to tie it 3-3 when Gene Clines singled home Juan Beniquez. It was the 4th tie of the game.

The game remained tied until the bottom of the 9th. Willie Horton pinch hit for Jerry Manuel to lead off the inning. He promptly deposited a Perry slider (or maybe it was a spitter) deep into the seats in left to give the Tigers a 4-3 victory. It was The Bird’s 15th complete game and he improved his record to 13-4 with a 1.97 ERA.

August 14, 1976

Fidrych turned 22 today. Happy Birthday to The Bird!

August 18, 1976

Fidrych pitched versus fireballer Frank Tanana (who came into the game 14-8 with a 2.77 ERA) and the California Angels last night. I know I mention attendance figures a lot but it’s really amazing how many fans come out to see The Bird. Last night, there were 51,822 fans in Tiger Stadium, their biggest crowd in 6 years. Fidrych enjoys the big crowds: “They make my body kind of rush, get my blood flowing a lot.” He also likes to talk to them away from the park: ”I don’t have a phone so they can’t call me. A lot of people come to my apartment, kids and things, but I don’t mind rapping with them. What else do I have to do during the day?”

Fidrych cruised through the first 4 innings but then allowed a solo home run to Ron Jackson in the 5th. In the Angels 6th, Dave Collins singled to right, went to second on a sacrifice by Jerry Remy, went to third on wild pitch and scored on a Bruce Bochte sacrifice fly. That made it 2-0 Angels.

In the bottom of the 6th, Bruce Kimm walked with one out and scored on a triple by Ron Leflore. Alex Johnson then hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game 2-2.

It was still 2-2 in the bottom of the 8th when The Bird’s personal catcher, Bruce Kimm led off the inning. Kimm smashed a home run to left field to put the Tigers in front 3-2. It was Kimm’s first career home run and he raised his arms in celebration as he ran around the bases. This pumped up an already enthusiastic crowd to another level. I was listening to Ernie Harwell’s description but it must have been a sight to see.

The final score was 3-2 Tigers as Fidrych outdueled Tanana for his 14th win of the season. He now has 16 complete games and still leads the league with 1.97 ERA. The Tigers are now 56-60 and are in 4th place 15 games behind

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August 22, 1976

The Bird pitched on The Saturday Game of the Week yesterday so I was able to watch him again. He was facing Pete Redfern and the Minnesota Twins. The game got off to a good start with the Tigers scoring 3 runs in the first inning. With one out, Dan Meyer walked. Ben Oglivie singled him to second and Rusty Staub followed with a two run double. Jason Thompson then singled home Staub to make it 3-0.

The Twins bounced back with two of their own in the second. Lyman Bostock led off with a single. Steve Brye followed with his first home run of the year to make it 3-2.

There was no more scoring until the 7th. In the top of that inning, Bostock and Brye singled to put runners on first and third. Bostock scored on a Larry Hisle single to tie the score 3-3.

It was still tied after 9 innings. Fidrych stayed in to pitch the 10th and got the first man but then it all unraveled. Here is how the inning went:

Steve Brye grounded out to shortstop

Bob Randall singled

Steve Braun singled

Roy Smalley singled (Randall out at plate)

Rod Carew walked

Disco Danny Ford was hit by the pitch (Braun scored)

Butch Wynegar scored (Smalley and Carew scored)

Lyman Bostock doubled (Ford scored)

Mike Cubbage grounded out to shortstop.

When all was said and done, the Twins had scored 4 runs to take a 7-3 lead. I have no idea why Fidrych was not taken out of the game.

The final score was 7-3 and, after the game, Fidrych said: “Well, I guess I’m human. Maybe, it’s for the best. It’s hard to believe. Seven runs. Earned too.” Fidrych is now 14-5 with a 2.22 ERA and 17 complete games.

August 26, 1976

The Bird was looking to get back on track last night after his disasterous 10th inning in his previous start. I still think Ralph Houk left him in there too long and deserves some of the blame for the 4 run 9th. Anyway, they were facing the White Sox tonight and Bart Johnson was the opposing pitcher.

The Tigers scored first in the 4th inning. With two out, Jason Thompson singled to left and then surprised everybody in the park by stealing second. According to Ernie Harwell, Thompson was able to steal easily because Johnson failed to pitch from the stretch pitching from a full windup instead. I guess he was really confident that Thompson would never try to steal. Thompson scored on a single to center by Aurelio Rodriguez.

In the top of the 5th inning, Jack Brohamer led off for the White Sox with a single to right. After two were out, Jerry Hairston singled to right and Brohamer came around to score when Ben Oglivie let the ball go through his legs. It was an unearned run but the score was now tied 1-1.

In the Tiger 6th, Oglivie made up for his error by tripling to center with one out. He scored when Alan Bannister had trouble picking up the ball. Rusty Staub followed with a walk and went to third when Thompson singled. Rodriguez then hit a sacrifice fly to center scoring Staub to make it 3-1 Tigers. There was no more scoring in the game after that.

Fidrych is now 15-5 with a 2.11 ERA and 17 complete games. In an interview after the game, The Bird said his goal was to win his 16th game and keep his ERA around 2.00. He also claimed that he needs to improve his control. With only 37 walks in 188 innings, I’m not sure how better he can get. The Tigers are now 60-65 and in 4th place 16 games behind.

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August 29, 1976

The Bird pitched at Oakland today against Mike Torrez and the Athletics. There was no way to watch or listen to the game on a Sunday afternoon in Massachusetts so I had to rely on updates from local radio stations WEEI and WHDH. It turned out to be another pitcher’s duel.

In the top of the first, Ron Leflore singled , stole second, went to third on a ground out and scored on a wild pitch. This gave the Tigers an early 1-0 lead. Leflore’s steal was his 49th of the season. He added another one later to give him an even 50.

The Athletics tied it up 1-1 in the 3rd on a home run by Phil Garner. That was all the scoring for a while as Fidrych retired 17 of the next 18 batters and the Tigers didn’t have any better success against Torrez. It was still 1-1 after 11 innings. It was quite a duel.

In the 12th, Torrez was replaced by Rollie Fingers who retired the Tigers easily. The Bird kept on pitching into the bottom of the 12th. This was the 5th time Houk stayed with Fidrych into extra innings but the first time he went into the 12th. Don Baylor led off with a single and eventually came around to score on a one out single by Gene Tenace. The final score was 2-1 Athletics in 12 innings.

Like most of Fidrych’s rare losses, this was a tough one. The Bird is now 15-6 with a 2.08 ERA and 19 complete games in 22 starts.

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September 3, 1976

Fidrych faced the Brewers tonight at Tiger Stadium. Jerry Augustine was the Brewers starter. It turned out to be the worst start of the year so far for The Bird.

The Brewers jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning and never looked back. The highlight of the inning was a 2 run double by Mike Hegan. Hegan, a back up first basemen/outfielder, came into the contest batting a modest .247-4-18 in 58 games but this would be a game he’ll likely never forget.

Hegan hit a solo home run in the 3rd to make it 5-0 Brewers. In the 4th, the Brewers scored 4 more runs to knock Fidrych out of the game and took a 9-0 lead. Again, Hegan got the big hit. This time, it was a three run triple giving him 6 RBI for the day and leaving him a single short of the cycle.

Hegan singled off Bill Laxton in the 6th to complete the cycle. It was the first cycle in Milwaukee Brewer history. With the game hopelessly lost at that point, I was actually rooting for him to get the cycle just because it’s such a rare event. I was also hoping he would add to his big day later in the game. However, he flied out and walked in his last two at bats to finish the day 4-5 with 6 RBI.

The final score was 11-2 Brewers. It was the first time in 15 home starts that Fidrych failed to pitch a complete game. He gave up 9 runs (7 of them earned) on 8 hits and 3 walks in 3 2/3 innings. The loss dropped The Bird’s record to 15-7 and raised his ERA to 2.35. Bill Travers of the Brerwes now leads the league with a 2.34 ERA. We can only hope this was just a bad game and not a sign that Fidrych will run out of gas down the stretch.

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September 8, 1976

In yesterday’s game, The Bird was hoping to bounce back from his worst start of the season. He was up against the dreaded Orioles and was facing a tough opponent in Wayne Garland who entered the game with 15-6 record and a 2.75 ERA. There were only about 16,000 fans in Tiger Stadium for this one. I don’t know whether the novelty of The Bird is wearing off or whether it’s because school has started. At any rate, it turned out to be a very sloppy game.

The Orioles scored a run in the third on a double by Lee May and errors by Jason Thompson and Chuck Scrivener.

The Tigers came back with 3 runs of their own in the bottom of the inning. Ron Leflore struck out but was safe at first on a wild pitch. Rookie Phil Mankowski, who was called up from Toledo at the end of August, singled and Ben Oglivie was hit by the pitch to load the bases. The first run scored on a wild pitch. Then, after Rusty Staub was walked intentionally to re-load the bases, Thompson walked to force home a second run. Dan Meyer then hit a sacrifice fly to make it 3-1 Tigers.

The Orioles tied the game 3-3 with 2 runs in the 5th. The runs scored on singles by Bobby Grich and Reggie Jackson, a ground out by Ken Singleton, and a double by Tony Muser.

In the Orioles 7th, an error by Mark Wagner contributed to 2 unearned runs. Grich led off with a single, Jackson reached on Wagner’s error and May singled to load the bases. The go ahead run scored on a sacrifice fly by Muser and another run scored on a single by Doug DeCinces. This gave the Orioles a 5-3 lead and that would be the final score.

It was not The Bird’s best game (he allowed 11 hits) but there were 4 errors behind him and only 2 of the 5 runs were earned. The loss dropped Fidrych to 15-8. He did manage to regain the American league ERA lead at 2.34. Vida Blue and Bill Travers are tied for 2nd at 2.38. Fidrych will face the division leading Yankees at New York on Sunday.

September 12, 1976

The Tigers and Yankees played a doubleheader before 53,000 fans in Yankee Stadium today. The first game featured Fidrych and Dock Ellis. The second game was a matchup between rookie Ed Glynn and Ed Figueroa.

In the 4th inning of game 1, the Tigers scored when Rusty Staub walked, Alex Johnson singled to left and Mickey Stanley singled to center.

The Tigers made it 2-0 in the 6th when Willie Horton reached on an error by Willie Randolph, Ellis balked and Mickey Stanley singled.

In the 7th inning, Mark Wagner led off with a walk and then Ben Ogilivie homered to make it 4-0. It was Oglivie’s 13th home run of the year.

The Tigers scored 2 more in the 8th to make it 6-0. Chuck Scrivener reached on an error, went to second on a passed ball and scored on a triple by Wagner. Meyer then singled to score Wagner.

It was The Bird’s third shutout of the year and he improved his record to 16-8. Since he probably still has 4-5 starts left, he has a chance to win 20 games. He also lowered his league leading ERA to 2.24.

In game 2, the Yankees defeated the Tigers 3-1 to gain a split. Ed Glynn, who allowed just 1 run in 6 innings in his debut last week, pitched another good game today. He allowed 3 runs (2 of them earned) in 8 innings. He was a little wild allowing 5 walks but overall it was a good start against a tough Yankee team. He is a pretty good prospect so I’m looking forward to his next start.

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September 17, 1976

The Bird faced the Red Sox and Luis Tiant tonight. It was on TV here in Massachusetts so I got a chance to see it. It wasn’t a pleasant night though as Fidrych got knocked out in the 3rd inning after giving up 7 runs. It’s usually fun to watch Tiant but not when he’s beating the Tigers.

About the only highlights for the Tigers were a couple of home runs. Willie Horton hit a 2 run homer in the 4th to make it 7-2 at the time. It was his 13th homer of the year. Ben Oglivie added his 14th homer in the 8th inning making it 8-3 which was the final score.

Fidrych is now16-9 with a 2.46 ERA. Vida Blue has now taken the league lead with a 2.45 ERA. Fidrych seems to be tiring down the stretch.

Fidrych was quoted in The Boston Globe this morning as saying that he has been offered a basketball scholarship by the Detroit University. He said: “I was pretty good in basketball in high school. I might take it if they have a good auto mechanics course.”

September 21, 1976

The Bird pitched against Rick Waits and the Indians tonight. Fidrych had not been having a great month so I was really hoping for a strong start as I listened to Ernie Harwell and Paul Carey broadcast the game.

The Tigers gave Fidrych an early lead when they scored 2 runs in the first inning. Rusty Staub walked and Willie Horton singled to put runners on first and second with two outs. Mickey Stanley then got a two run double.

In the 7th inning, Phil Mankowski led off with a single, moved to second on a sacrifice and scored on a single by Mark Wagner. Ben Oglivie then hit a two run homer to make it 5-0.

Meanwhile, Fidrych pitched shutout ball for 7 innings before running into trouble in the 8th. He loaded the bases on a single by Tommy Smith and two walks before anybody was out. Rick Manning followed with two run single to make it 5-2. Fidrych managed to get out of the inning with only one more run scoring on a grounder by Larvell Blanks. The score was 5-3 after 8 and that was how it ended.

As usual, Fidrych went the distance for his 22nd complete game. He is now 17-9 with a 2.48 ERA. He has 2 or 3 games left.

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September 28, 1976

The Tigers played a doubleheader against the Indians today. The Bird pitched in the first game against hard throwing but wild Jim Bibby. Fidrych got 6 days rest between starts due to a couple of rained out games this week.

The Tigers scored 2 runs in the 4th inning to take the lead. Willie Horton homered with one out to make it 1-0. Jason Thompson then singled, went to second on an error and scored on a single by Bruce Kimm making it 2-0 Tigers.

In the 5th inning, Dan Meyer hit a 2 out single, stole second and scored on a single by Rusty Staub. Staub scored on a double by Willie Horton to make it 4-0 and this was the final score.

Fidrych pitched one of his best games of the year – a complete game shutout on 5 hits and 1 walk. Perhaps, the extra rest was good for him. He is now 18-9 with a 2.39 ERA, 23 complete games and 4 shutouts.

The Tigers ended up with a split of the doubleheader as the Indians took the second game by a score of 6-1.

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October 2, 1976

The Tigers played the Brewers today at County Stadium in Milwaukee. I was able to watch the game on TV as it was on the Saturday Game of the Week. They always have the Tigers on The Game of the Week when the Bird is on the mound. His opponent was Jim Slaton. This was Fidrych’s last game of the year as the season ends tomorrow.

The Tigers scored first in the 2nd inning when Bruce Kimm walked, stole second, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a grounder by Pedro Garcia. It was 1-0 Tigers after 2 innings.

In the 5th inning, Garcia walked, went to third an a single by late season call-up Marvin Lane and scored on a sacrifice fly by Rusty Staub. That made it 2-0 Tigers.

In the 7th inning, the Tigers scored 2 more runs to go up 4-0. Garcia doubled and scored on a single by Staub. Staub went to second on a passed ball and scored on an error by Robin Yount.

The Brewers scored their only run against Fidrych in the 9th on singles by Yount and George Scott and a sacrifice fly by Darrell Porter. The final score was 4-1 Tigers.

Fidrych finished his incredible rookie season with a 19-9 record, a 2.34 ERA and 24 complete games. He currently leads the league in ERA and complete games with one day left in the season.

October 3, 1976

The Tigers finished their season with a 5-2 victor over the Brewers today. The winning pitcher was Dave Roberts who finished with a record of 16-17. The Tigers ended up 74-87 and in 5th place 24 games behind the division winning Yankees. This was a 17 win improvement over last year when they went 57-105.

The Bird ended up 19-9 with a league leading 2.34 ERA in 250 innings. He also led the league with 24 complete games in 29 starts. The leading Tiger reliever was John Hiller who pitched 121 innings pitched over 56 games. He finished with a record of 9-6 with 13 saves and an ERA of 2.38.

Ron Leflore finished among the top ten batters with a .316 average. He was second in the league in steals with 58 and scored 93 runs. He should be an exciting player for years to come. Rusty Staub batted .299-15-96 in his first year with the Tigers. He led the team in RBI. He finished 4th in the league in on base percentage, an obscure but interesting stat. Jason Thompson led the team in home runs with 17. He only batted .218 but he’s just 22 and should have a great future.

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Bump

This was a nice read again after hearing the sad news yesterday.

Lee did a great job on this.

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Thanks for bumping this, Rhino, and of course, thank you, Lee. I enjoyed reading it the first time around and I think I'm gonna read it again. It means a little more to me this time.

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On 9/1/2006 at 9:17 PM, tiger337 said:

August 18, 1976

Fidrych pitched versus fireballer Frank Tanana (who came into the game 14-8 with a 2.77 ERA) and the California Angels last night. I know I mention attendance figures a lot but it’s really amazing how many fans come out to see The Bird. Last night, there were 51,822 fans in Tiger Stadium, their biggest crowd in 6 years. Fidrych enjoys the big crowds: “They make my body kind of rush, get my blood flowing a lot.” He also likes to talk to them away from the park: ”I don’t have a phone so they can’t call me. A lot of people come to my apartment, kids and things, but I don’t mind rapping with them. What else do I have to do during the day?”

 

Might ditch tonight's Tigers game and listen to this instead. Cut out the rest of Lee's post as it contained spoilers for the following link. Through the magic of YT, can now listen to this WJR broadcast in its entirety. Bird-mania exploded on June 28 but may have its peak on August 18. Paul Carey's words from the 2:16:05 mark for the next few minutes through 2:19:15 captures the essence of that magical summer.  The 2:16:56 to 2:17:35 stretch gives me chills. What a summer.

 

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On 8/28/2018 at 6:02 PM, lordstanley said:

Might ditch tonight's Tigers game and listen to this instead. Cut out the rest of Lee's post as it contained spoilers for the following link. Through the magic of YT, can now listen to this WJR broadcast in its entirety. Bird-mania exploded on June 28 but may have its peak on August 18. Paul Carey's words from the 2:16:05 mark for the next few minutes through 2:19:15 captures the essence of that magical summer.  The 2:16:56 to 2:17:35 stretch gives me chills. What a summer.

 

Thanks for the link.  I am listening to it now.  It is hard to explain to people who weren't around back then how amazing it was to experience the bird.  There will never be another some like that one. 

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On 9/2/2018 at 2:39 PM, tiger337 said:

Thanks for the link.  I am listening to it now.  It is hard to explain to people who weren't around back then how amazing it was to experience the bird.  There will never be another some like that one. 

Edit: There will never be another SUMMER like that one.  

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Just discovered this thread.  Not even halfway through yet ..but am going to read and re-read every post ..especially the game summaries.  Also going to listen to the radio broadcast if link still works.

fwiw: I missed Tiger baseball ..summer of '76 ..due to military duties.  The only summer of baseball I ever missed since I discovered the Tigers in '66.  Thanks to technology ..and threads like this ..I get to enjoy what I initially missed.

 

tiger337 .. Thank you very much for this thread.

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