Heaven, please wait!
The year 2009 has been tough for Detroit Sports Fans.
It all began with the Tampa Bay, Florida., boating tragedy of Detroit Lions Defensive End Corey Smith, 29, in February.
Detroit Pistons Owner Bill Davidson, 86, is currently resting in peace at Clover Hill Park Cemetery near many of my relatives in Royal Oak, MI. Davidson passed away on March 13.
After Davidson passed away, Colleen Howe, the wife of legendary Detroit Red Wings Hall of Famer Gordie Howe also known as "Mr. Hockey" died at the age of 76 from Pick's Disease, a rare and incurable form of progressive dementia similar to Alzheimer's disease. It alters a person's personality and character and its progression cannot be slowed. Davidson and Mrs Hockey both died on Friday March 13.
On Sept 27, 1999, I had the good pleasure of talking to Tigers Hall of Famer George Kell before the Final Game at Tiger Stadium against the Kansas City Royals. Kell died on March 24 in his sleep from his home in Swifton, Arkansas. He was 86.
The No. 13 is proving to be unlucky as former Detroit Tigers All-Star Pitcher Mark "The Bird" Fidrych died on Monday April 13 was found dead in an apparent accident at his farm Northborough, Mass. He was 54.
The colorful right-hander was the American League Rookie Of The Year in 1976 when he went 19-9 with a 2.34 ERA. He spent all five of his major league seasons with the Detroit Tigers, compiling a 29-19 record and a 3.10 ERA.
He started the 1976 All-Star Game after opening the season with seven wins in eight decisions. He finished that season with 24 complete games. I'll never forget that All-Star Game in Philadelphia when he joined Rusty Staub and Ron LeFlore as starters on this team.
It wouldn't be surprising that current Owners and General Managers use Fidrych as an example that young pitchers should have their innings monitored and pitch counts are now enforced. In 1976, Fidrych led the American League with 24 complete games. It seems that in this day and age, I'd be curious as to how many pitchers would have that many complete games in their career.
It's only fitting that Fidrych wore the No. 20. In Detroit, this number has produced many great moments. Former Red Wings Right Winger and current Broadcaster Mickey Redmond was the first 50-goal scorer in the franchises storied history. Former Lions Lem Barney, Billy Sims and Barry Sanders also provided long lasting memories. Barney and Sanders are members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The Pistons are currently facing the probability of another death as Hall of Fame Coach Chuck Daly is fighting Cancer. In March 2009, it was announced Daly had been diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer and is receiving treatment. He is 78. My dealings with Daly were extremely pleasant with him and my fondest memory was when we ate lunch together before a nationally televised Sunday Pistons road game versus the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Richfield Coliseum. Daly is currently living in Florida.
Get well soon Chuck! Sports Center, the Obituaries, and the Death Notices can wait!
Scott Morganroth can be reached at Scottsports33@aol.com.
- Scott Morganroth
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