Not a good day for baseball fans
First came the news that Harry Kalas, legendary Phillies broadcaster and the voice of NFL Films since 1975, had died at the age of 73 after passing out in the broadcast booth while preparing for today's Phillies-Nationals game. If you aren't familiar with the name, you do know the voice:
Then the breaking news, just as the word of Kalas' passing was being broadcast; former Detroit Tigers pitcher Mark "The Bird" Fidrych had been found dead under his truck in an apparent accident at his farm in Massachusetts at the age of 54:
Younger fans may not remember Fidrych, but in 1976, he was a baseball phenomenon and national celebrity, known as much for his skill as for his bizarre behavior on the mound. No one knew what to make of him; he talked to the ball, got on his hands and knees to clear cleat marks off the mound, he believed that some balls had hits in them and would throw those balls back. But damn, could he pitch. His career, like his life, was over far too soon; injuries killed his career after only four years, but he did enough in those four years to cement his name among those of us old enough to remember those days. As someone put it earlier, "He was the Bird before there was a Larry Bird."
Rest in peace, gentlemen. Your time with us was over far too soon, and we will cherish the time we had with you.