For the first time in years a celebrity death has really touched me. I don't know why, but the death of Mark Fidrych last week has bothered me. I'm not talking about being sad in the sense of, "Aw, gee, that's too bad. He was a swell guy." I mean I've actually felt sad, some twinge of real grief.
My best guesses as to why I've been bummed are: 1. Mark was a pretty decent guy; 2. he represents a special part of my childhood. I never met the Bird, but friends of mine did and they raved about how great and gracious he was. Pretty much everyone in the media that dealt with him had good things to say. He was also that person -- caught up in something even bigger than himself -- that draws in a kid. His magic rookie season is the sort of thing that really captures a little boy's imagination. He must have captured mine and remained there in the recesses of my mind all those years.
Whatever the case may be, he's been on my mind. I was happy to find there is a little video clip of his 5-1 win over the Yankees in 1976. Pay attention to his excitement and embarrassment over the crowd's reaction. It's really cool. There are some great outfits on the fans, too.
God bless you, Mark. Thanks for being part of my childhood.