Detroit Tigers: MLB Presents “The Bird” is Must See TV
Detroit Tigers Mark Fidrych‘s life is presented with style and substance on the MLB Network Presents show.
The show debuted earlier in the month at the Motor City Casino as the 40th anniversary of his game against the New York Yankees aired on national television. Now, the show is airing on the MLB Network.
If you haven’t seen the show, it worth watching and watching and watching. Here is the schedule so you can add it to your DVR.
The show is only an hour in length but is packed with all of the hysteria that surrounded this historical Detroit Tigers pitcher. Even though he only pitched in only 58 games, he is one of the most unforgettable baseball players ever to wear a pair of spikes.
From the moment the narrator begins, it is impossible to change the channel. And, who better to narrate the program about The Bird than Tom Selleck. As a life-long Tigers fan, Selleck has featured his favorite team in many of his television shows and films. Anyone who has watched Magnum P.I. lovingly remembers Selleck donning his Tigers cap while cruising the streets of Oahu in his shiny Ferrari. His voice was the perfect choice to share the rollercoaster of excitement and sadness that filled Fidrych’s life.
One thing that I truly appreciated was how closely the TV special follows the biography by Doug Wilson. The Bird: The Life and Legacy of Mark Fidrych includes more details than can be presented in a one-hour television program. The MLB Network Presents show completes the book with all of the video clips of Fidrych on television, the stills of his magazine covers, and the actual voices of the men who coached him, played with him, and knew him best.
The video clips of Fidrych are all from the late 1970s and early 1980s. Because of this, there are plenty of young faces that Tigers fans will enjoy seeing. There is interview footage of a young Jim Leyland, as well as glimpses of Lance Parrish behind the plate. Mr. Tiger himself, Al Kaline, talks about the unforgettable Fidrych. Even Willie Horton shares his thoughts and emotions about his former teammate.
More from Detroit Tigers History
- Celebrating Willie Horton’s Return to the All-Star Game
- Of Trade Deadlines, Detroit Tigers, Fidrych, Smoltz, Skubal
- Recalling Each of the Current Detroit Tigers’ First MLB Hits
- Eduardo Rodriguez versus Justin Verlander: Money Well Spent?
- Detroit Tigers retired numbers
Leyland worked with Fidrych in the minor leagues as Fidrych struggled to regain his pitching after a knee injury. It is obvious that Leyland continues to think highly of the 1976 Rookie of the Year.
It is difficult to pick a favorite part of the documentary, but last ten minutes is so special. This part focuses on Fidrych’s wife (Ann) and daughter (Jessica). He met his wife after he had retired from baseball. The world was so much larger in the early 1980s, so his celebrity did not stretch as far as it would have today. They knew him as a husband and father, not as one of the biggest celebrities in the world of popular culture. They saw how fans reacted when they, as a family, visited Tiger Stadium and they were shocked with the public support they received when he died in 2009.
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So often we think of our favorite athletes just as we see them on the diamond. But, there is so much more to their stories. This episode of MLB Network Presents shows the depth of a man who was so much more than just a pitcher to so many people.