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Published: Friday, 4/17/2009

Coroner: Fidrych died of accidental suffocation

ASSOCIATED PRESS

NORTHBOROUGH, Mass. - Former All-Star pitcher Mark Fidrych suffocated after his clothes became entangled with a spinning part on the truck he was working on, Massachusetts authorities said yesterday.

The state medical examiner's office ruled the death an accident, according to a release from the Worcester district attorney's office.

A friend found Fidrych, 54, beneath a 10-wheel dump truck on Monday at his Northborough farm.

"He appeared to have been working on the truck when his clothes became tangled in the truck's power takeoff shaft," District Attorney Joseph Early, Jr., said in a statement.

A power takeoff shaft is a driveshaft that spins at high speed and can be used to power another piece of equipment.

Fidrych went 19-9 with a 2.34 ERA for the Detroit Tigers in 1976 to win the AL Rookie of the Year award. Known as "The Bird," he become as famous for his mop of curly hair and on-the-mound antics as his skills.

Fidrych is survived by his wife, Ann, and daughter, Jessica.



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