(Editors note: I wrote this one year ago when the new major league baseball season was about to begin. Mark Fidrych died today, and in his honor I will re-post it each year on April 13th. Fly on, Bird. Fly on.)
That was Mark Fidrych at the height of his inspirational Rookie of the Year season. He lit a fuse that exploded all over the baseball world, bringing joy to the masses. He gave everyone a call to arms, celebrating his unique kookiness while performing at the top level of his sport. He was a freak, but he was really, really, really good. He quickly became a star.
It did not last. His body could not keep up with his spirit. For one charmed season, a season that will last forever in history, Mark Fidrych showed us the full potential of the individual. Then he was gone.
Keep an eye skinned. Maybe this is the year someone special will pop up to take his place as the coolest baseball player ever, maybe not. We shall see.