When it comes to topics like the death of Mark Fidrych, I tend to be reflective — and that usually means several hours (or even a day) can pass before I post something about it.
I’ll certainly have more on The Bird this week, but I will share my single memory of Fidrych and his magical 1976 season.
Back then, Tanana was a flamethrower and entered the game with a 14-8 record on his way to a 19-win season. The Bird was 13-4 and, as everyone knows, soaring toward the A.L. Rookie of the Year honors.
Anyway, I had two choices: I could attend the game with my family or I could spend the evening hanging out with my grandpa. The choice was easy: I hung out with grandpa.
I’m intrigued by this Kenny Rogers-may-return storyline. Based on his last few appearances in 2008 I can’t imagine there’s anything left in the tank. But then I watched the postseason and saw the Phillies’ Jamie Moyer get it done…more or less — against the Rays if not the Brewers or Dodgers.
This year, at 45, Moyer ended up at 16-7, 3.71, with 33 starts and 196 innings pitched. For his part, Rogers, 43, was 9-13, 5.70, 30 starts and 170+ innings pitched.
When Moyer was 43 (in 2006), he was 6-12, 4.39 in 25 starts with the Mariners and 5-2, 4.03, eight starts after a trade to Philly. In 2007, at 44, Moyer went 14-12, 5.01 in 33 starts.
On Opening Day — in fact, next Monday — Rogers will be 44. Should the Tigers consider him as a viable option as their number-five starter? Maybe.
The last we saw of Frank Tanana (in this 1987/Frank’s-birthday-mini-mini-series, at least), he pitched brilliantly against the Blue Jays at Exhibition Stadium only to watch the bullpen blow the game and put the Tigers farther behind Toronto in the A.L. East race.
Tanana faced the Jays 10 days later, this time at Tiger Stadium, and with a different landscape atop the East division. On the last day of the season, Tanana and Toronto’s Jimmy Key squared off again. The Tigers came into the game one-up on the Jays. Win and clinch the division; lose and prepare for a one-game playoff the next day.