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Ode to the 'Bird"


Joe Rosochacki

How people flocked to see him pitch.

He was tall and lanky, fidgety,

a Detroit Tiger pitcher, was known as the ‘Bird’.

How sorely he will be missed.

He was often described as eccentric, crazy, de-de-de and, in fact, weird.

I often would see him on the TV on Tiger Baseball with Al Kaline,

--- or listen to WJR-760’s Ernie Harwell for a switch,

My dad seemed to be amused by him,

My dad's viewpoint was shared by a lot more than a few.

Call it superstition, not to be confused with another Detroit superstar,

Little Stevie Wonder,

He talked to the baseball, he did not step on the baseline,

He would crouch down on the pitcher's mound and fix cleat marks,

What became known as "manicuring the mound",

Talked to himself,

Talked to the ball,

Aimed the ball like a dart,

Strutted around the mound after every out,

----and threw back balls that "had hits in them,"

insisting they be removed from the game.

Somehow, baseball would never be the same,

He was born in the same year as I was,

For him, fame was a fleeting five years,

At which point he struck out,

Ran out of luck,

Injuries kept him from the game,

He wound up in Massachusetts ,

On a farm right next to his childhood stomping grounds,

Last Monday, April 13th, 2009 ,

-------he was found dead lying beneath his 10 wheel dump truck.

He’ll be missed,

For the five years he gave entertaining us and, to top it off,

--being Rookie of the Year,

So sad, the Spirit of Detroit will shed more than a tear.

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