Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Baseball Card of the Week: 1977 Hostess Mark Fidrych

Each week I am going to write about a specific baseball card and will be one from my own personal collection. The card could either be something that is just fun, historic, newsworthy or a recent pick up for myself.
For the initial card, I will discuss one that falls a bit of each of the categories:  1977 Hostess #46 Mark Fidrych. 

Mark "The Bird" Fidrych was a pitcher from 1976-80, all with the Detroit Tigers. But it was the 1976 season is when he became a pop sensation in baseball.  Fidrych, who got his nickname from his similarities to the Sesame Street character, sold out stadiums with his on the field antics to go along with his successes as a big league pitcher.
Fidrych would do things on the field that was never seen before or since. He would get down on his hands and knees and pat down the dirt on the pitching mound, or before throwing a pitch, he would talk to the ball to get it where he wanted to go.  Fidrych would also pace around the mound telling himself to calm down and after a fine play by one of his defenders, he was known to go up to him in the field and thank him personally.  While doing all of this, Fidrych was racking up the wins. He won the 1976 American League Rookie of the Year and was the starting pitcher for the AL in the All-Star game. He finished the season with a 19-9 record and an ERA of 2.34.  But, unfortunately, early on in 1977 season, Fidrych hurt his shoulder and was never the same.

As for the card itself, Hostess Brands made recent news from their announcement of going out of business.  This generated some interest for the baseball cards that they produced in the past.  From 1975-79, Hostess Brands put panels of three cards as backs to their family size packs of Hostess treats.  The sets would have a total of 150 cards each year and included all of the day's tops players.  Some players are a bit harder to find because they were placed on the least popular Hostess snacks only.  Modern collectors find it difficult to get these in nice condition as it was up to each individual(usually a kid) to cut the cards off the boxes in a precise manner.  Since the years of their release, these sets have become one of most recognizable and popular food issue baseball card sets.
Both Hostess Brands and Mark Fidrych were a popular part of American culture and now are fond memories for those who are old enough to lived it.

No comments:

Post a Comment