Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan on July 10, 1976 · Page 17
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Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan · Page 17

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Detroit, Michigan
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Saturday, July 10, 1976
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DL'IKOIT I-RLE PKESS Saturday, July 10, '76 1-B Falls Back to Earth, 1-0 The kis lIUNNIS LEONARD WINS DUEL BEFORE 51,041 Bird BY JIM HAW KINS Free Press Sports Writer The law of averages finally caught up with Mark Fidrych Friday night: Somebody boat The Bird. Fidrych did everything but score runs, but it wasn't quite enough as the Tigers' frizv-haired plienom succumbed to the Kansas City Royals, 1-0. For the third incredible game in a row, The Bird personally filled the ball park as 51,011 (timed out to roar for the remarkable righthander bringing his personal attendance total for the last three games to an almost unbelievable 149.928. And he once again went through his by-now-familiar rouiine, talking to the ball and playing with the mound and strutting around whenever he felt the urge. But this time it didn't work, as the Tigers settled for four well-spaced singles off Kansas City's taciturn Dennis Leonard. IT WAS FIDRYCH the eager fans all came to see but it was Leonard who stole the show with the first shutout of his brief big league career and the best game he has ever pitched. Still the fans weren't satisfied. They stood and cheered when the game ended, chanting "We Want Bird, We Want Bird," just as if their hero had won once again. Many of them were still in the stands, waiting, hoping, when Fidrych finally emerged in street clothes 15 minutes later. It was unbelievable, especially since it came after a loss. But that's the kind of grip the Bird has on Detroit. FIDRYCH WAS MORE disgusted with himself than anyone else as he stripped off his uniform after only his second loss of the season and his first since May 25, eight consecutive victories ago. Asked if he thought he had pitched well, permitting the hardhitting Royals nine hits, Fidrych replied, "Hell, no. "I didn't have any control," the Tigers' 21-year-old sensation grumbled softly. "My control was horse manure. I was getting 'way behind on the hitters and you're not supposed to do that. "I screwed it up. The defense was great behind me. I couldn't believe the way those guys played behind me. I just screwed it up. This was one game I didn't want to lose, either, because my parents were here." THE LONE RUN OF THE GAME occurred in the fourth inning on back-to-back singles by George Brett, John Mayberry and Hal McRae the latter an infield grounder to short that left Tom Vomer with no chance to throw out anyone. Ironically, before the game, a writer had asked McRae if he planned to put one of those iron-on "tlird" decals on his T-shirt. "No." replied the American League's second-leading hit-tor. "I'm going to get my 'iron-on' right here." He was pointing to the barrel of his bat. McRae also collected two other hits off Fidrych while walking once for a perfect evening ;t the plate. Meanwhile. Leonard, whose arm was sore enough Thursday to send the Kansas City righthander to the hospital for x-rays, was nearly perfect himself as he rendered the Tigers virtually helpless. And So The Bird's Only Unman After All Ah"!. The H rd r- ' :ca! error I riday. And the charm wore off almost immediately. He accepted the use of a free Thunderbird for the rest of the so- on and i--r n 1 i H-n.l Ivro st:;ied down t lie roaJ to commercialism, like all those before him. Too bad. He seemed so pure. So innocent. So absolutely lovely in this money-mad sporting society. Damn it, The Bird was different. Blue demins. Sneakers. A sub-compact. What he wanted, he said, was to drive a truck. Yes, that's what life was all about, the beauty of it all driving a truck. And he wanted to work in a gasoline station. There was never anything or any one like The Bird. He was an original, and he was ours. Now he is like all the rest. Maybe it was too much to ask too much to hope that he would remain so pure. After all, how do you dangle a spanking new SIO.OOH automobile, with all that flashing chrome, those sleek lines and that stinging smell of fresh leather, in front of a 21-year-old kid and not get his pulse to pounding? Fans Still Lore Him VI- b :!v ;; 'r -"'i' ,'. Met I'm going to miss the old Bird, the unsullied Bird, He was one of a kind and ho was ours and he was beautiful. So now they can bring on the laywers and the agents and all the quick-buck artists who will try to cash in on this youm; phenom. The Bird may be worth millions before he is done and now that I he first li, rii; ! has fallen, he may as well go g-' id! he can for himself. That, after all, is what our world is all aboul. The fans love The Bird as much as over, in spite of his 1-0 setback Friday i ' . tivit ;s the import -mt thing. In fact, there has never been a love affair in our city to match what's happened around here in the past month. Never has any athlete in any sport not Bobby Layne, not Gordie Howe, not A' ::''w.' - !;f!i such complete Mark Fidrych They cheered him triumphant moment. hold on the public as Mark Fidrych. just as mightly in defeat as in his most. It was the first time ever that a losing pitcher was given a resounding ovation a full five minutes after the game. But that's what happened in what was another amazing saga of The Bird. He pitched well. Well enough to win. It is amazing the way be gets them to hit the ball into the ground when he gets into trouble. And its remarkable how he holds his poise under almost all conditions. The glare of the spotlight is beginning to make him blink. You hear stories of how he is getting a little testy by having so , manv people pulling at him. That's only natural. Who can handle what he has to handle in this last month? Wluit is so incredible is that it hasn't affected him when he goes tn work. The concentration is still there. And the control. And all of the presence that a pitcher needs to be a big winner in the majors. The Kansas City Royals broke his spell but they needed a couole of seein'!-eye hits to do it. plus a powerful pitching performance by Dennis Leonard. Probably nobody could have beaten Leonard Friday night. He was that commanding. lie Fills Un the Bars, Too Fidrych put on quite a show himself. When he bounced his first pitch into the dirt, the crowd gasped. The kid made a mistake! It was hard to believe. When the next pitch was hung out to rightfield for a ringing single, the crowd gasped even louder. But The Bird got a DP, and did the same in the second and fourth innings, by forcing the menacing KayCee hitters to bent the ball into the ground. All The Bird's got to do is keen his mind on pitching and he will do well. Barring the unforeseen, he'll get 22 more starts before the end of the season and if he wins just half of (hem, hcH be a 20-game winner in his rookie year. His streak had to be broken sometime but you may bo sure they'll be out en masse "again when he pitches against Oakland next Friday night. Maybe it was John Fetzer who should have left a new car in The Bird's driveway. With the crowd" of 51,041, the Tigers went over the 700.000 mark in home attendance with ,112,000 turning out to see The Bird. And who knows how much The Bird is pumping into the sagging ecomony of downtown Detroit? Did you ever try to get into the door of the Lindell A.C. on the night The Bird pitches? They'll hand you out a beer on the sidewalk, if you'll just be patient. The Bird may even be a bigger boost to Detroit than the Renaissance Center. So now its a dollars-and-cents proposition. We knew it would come to this eventually. But the primitive Bird was what we'll remember the grease-monkev uv who talked of trucks with a gleam in his eyes and a smile on his lips and a feeling in bis heart. Farewell, Bird. Welcome, Thunderbird. Swooooooosb ! Away we go into the 21st Cenmrv. Han on. It's going to be a wild ride. THEY DIDN'T get a man beyond second base all night against the 25-year-old Leonard, who is now 0-.1 but a far more impressive 21-5 since last July. Only once did the Tigers get as many as two men on base at the same tme in support of the The Bird and that was only because of two Kansas City errors in the bottom of the second. And after Rusty Staub singled and believe it or not stole second in the seventh, Please turn to Page 3B, Col. 4 The Bird's Next Show: Friday vs. A's The Bird will be back on the mound again next Friday evening, when the Oakland A's invade Tiger Stadium after the All-Star break. And that will be Mark Fidrych's last appearance at home until at least the end of the month. . Fidrych's next performance, of course, will occur Tuesday night in the nationally televised All-Star Game in Philadelphia. He'll then come back with two days rest to face the A's - presumably in front of yet another near-capacity crowd. The Tigers will leave town following next weekend's four-game series against Oakland and won't return until July 29. mm :V- .: . W 1 VK'S 3 rree rrebs rnoio uv i.kmio ruK 1 tK cli zinjis in a fast ball Friday night Mark (The Hinl) Fhiry The Bird No Loser With Fans BY CURT SYLVESTER Free Press Sports Writer It would have been a nice night for Mark Fidrych to dress quietly, slip out of Tiger Stadium unnoticed and not be seen again until Saturday afternoon. But he never had a chance, even after the Kansas City Royals broke his spell with a 1-0 victory at Tiger Stadium Friday night. The microphones kept closing in on him until he was pinned against the side of his locker. The note pads and the questions kept popping up on all sides. And The Bird could hardly believe it when the stadium security man caught up with him after a beer run: "Mark," the man said, as the walkie-talkie crackled in his hand, "you've gotta go out there so we can get these people out of here." Fidrych shrugged. "I'm undressed," he said impatiently. "What am I supposed to do?" "I've got 50.000 people out there," replied the security man." and they won't leave unless you go out there." "You gotta be kidding me," he grinned weakly. Then he pulled a pair of washed-out gray pants and his Tigers jacket over his naked body, clashed out the tunnel to the dugout and waved to his thankful admirers. IT WASN'T AN easy job, as Please turn to Page. 3B, Col. 4 Astros 9 Dierker Throws No- Hitter at Expos HOUSTON AP) Houston righthander Larry Dierker. a victim of controversy and injury during his l.'!-vear major league career, fired the first no-hitter of the 197R baseball season Friday night, allowing four walks as the Astros whipped the Montreal Expos, b'-0. T h e 29-year-old Dierker, who has spent his entire career with the Astros, struck out eight in lifting his record to 8-S. It was the first no-hitter by an Astros pitcher since the laic Don Wilson's second gem May 1, 19. Second baseman Rob Andrews and center fielder Jose Cruz, playing in place of sore-kneed all-star Cesar Cdeno, protected the fifth no-hitter in the Astros' 15-years witii outstanding fielding plays while Dierker himself snagged a sizzling liner off the bat of Pete Mackanin to start a double play. The Astrodome crowd of 12,511 gave Dierker a standing ovation as he took the mound to start the ninth inning. The fi-foot-4. 210-pound na-tive of Hollywood, Calif., notched his seventh strikeout by fanning Angel Mangual as the crowd roared. The din grew louder as he also fired a third strike past Jim Lyttle. Mike Jorgensen grounded out to first baseman Bob Watson unassisted as the Astros mobbed the pitcher. The onlv Montreal baserun- ners as the Expos suffered the first no-hitter in their eight-year existence came on walk to Andy Thornton in the second inning, Larry Parrish and Mackanin in the fifth and Thornton again in the seventh. The mainstay of the second division Astros' staff when he wasn't injured, Dierker came back from a hand injury in 1973 and then promptly devel-. oped a sore shoulder which limited him to only two decisions. During spring training in 1973, while remaining in Florida to nurse his injuries, Dierker was the driver in a fatal car accident which killed an 18-year-old college student. Dierker was uninjured in the accident. E d Herrmann, Dierker's batterymato, drove in two runs with his first National League homer and a single while Dierker himself delivered a sacrifice fly off loser Don Stanhouse, 6-4, in the third inning. Following a leadoff walk to Thornton in the second inning, Parrish struck out. Thornton then stole second but Dierker stabbed Mackanin's hard line drive and tossed to Andrews to double Thornton. ANDREWS RANGED far to his right for a fine pickup and throw on Lyttle's one-out grounder in the fourth. In the seventh, Jorgensen sent Cruz, to the center field fence for his Please turn to Page KB, Col. 8 C Threatens To Call Off Olympic Games MONTREAL (AP) The International Olympic Cumm.it- I e l'' pic tc An r-u-o uiened Friday to cancel or move the Summer Games ef Canada's adamant refusal to permit Taiwan's Olym-i to enter the country as the Republic .of China, another political move ended the expected showdown fveen Tanzania's Filbert Bayi. holder of the world I. - 500-meter record, and New Zealand's John Walker, world record holder in the mile. Tanzania withdrew from the Montreal Olvmnics Friday night in protest against New Zealand's sports links with South Africa. AND IN WASHINGTON. President Ford told an impromptu news conference it was tragic that international politics have become involved in the Olympics. The IOC's Trioartite Commission the three vice presidents of the IOC and representatives of the international sports federations and national Olympic committees said a meeting would be sought as soon as possible with the Canadian government. Then came the IOC's veiled threat to call off the Games, set to start July 17. The Tripartite Commission issued a statement which said, in part- "In an endeavor that this (dispute) should not result in the IOC having no alternative but to cancel the Games of the XXI Olympiad, the Tripartite Commission is supporting immediate further talks with Canadian authorities and also with representatives of the Republic of China National Olympic Committee," Also Friday, a delegation from the People's Republic of Please turn to Page 8B, Column 3 EfilCM Boston's Yawkey Is Dead at 73 . ' 4 Tom Yawkey BOSTON - (UPI) - Tom Yawkey, one of the wealthiest and most popular owners in baseball, died Friday without attaining the one prize he sought for 43 years the world championship of baseball. He died in his sleep at New England Baptist Hospital. It was revealed that Yawkey had been suffering from leukemia. Ironically, he had donated more than $10 million over his career to the Jimmy Fund, an appeal aimed at funding research on the disease. The popularity of the Please turn to Page 8B, Col. i , . im I ':ymm i '. tin o 3 i Fins ma MT HOSE I STEPPED-DQvIM ABSORBENT COTTON SPORT HOSE WITH FULL-CUSHIONED FOOT WERE 1.75 TO 2.50 Three styles: tennis sport socks with the Puma name, regular tube sport socks, and long tube numbered sport socks. In socks these days, they're the only way to go. On sale in sizes 10-13. HUGHES & HATCHER o MOST HUGHES & HATCHER STORES OPEN EVENINGS. MOST HUGHES & HATCHER STORES OPEN SUNDAYS.

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