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Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Birds and Grasshoppers-Can't quite get to sleep tonight, and this isn't helping. Ex-Lakelander Amy Welborn and current Orlandian(?) Andrea Harris had commentary on these grasshoppers on steriods. Was touched by a paragraph from Len Pasquarelli on Terrell Davis' retirement. The summary of his piece is that Davis had four stellar years, but that's not enough for the Hall of Fame
Columnists have suggested that Hall of Fame electors extrapolate the Davis numbers over what his career could have been. Should the same method be applied, say, to Jamal Anderson? Does that mean that if Cleveland Browns first-round tailback William Green runs for 2,000 yards this year, but then blows out his knee in a freak playoff injuries and is forced to retire, that he merits Hall of Fame consideration? Should baseball have considered, for instance, Mark Fidrych after his one breakthrough season?
Warm my Michigander heart, he invokes the name of The Bird. 1976. The kid gets called up in May and goes 19-9, with a league-leading 2.34 ERA. He starts the All-Star Game. He talks to the baseball and manicures the mound. His long, floppy blond hair and exuberant attitude gets him compared to Big Bird, thus the nickname. He fills the stands, both in Detroit and elsewhere. Favorite moment (this from memory) was a Monday Nighter ABC national broadcast against the Yankees at Tiger Stadium. Top of the ninth and we don't need no steenking closer, The Bird finishes what he starts (24 complete games that year). Two outs. Pop-up to third to Aurelio Rodriguez, the best gloveman at the hot corner not named Brooks. He drops it. Fidrych walks over, puts his arm around Rodriguez, goes back and gets the next guy to close out the game. Fidrych proceeded to have a string of injuries the following years and never came close to that 1976 year. It was fun while it lasted, though.

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