Northborough – “Make your Mark,” a fun-filled family day that continues the charitable work of Northborough's beloved Mark Fidrych, is this Saturday, Aug. 25 at Memorial and Casey Fields in Northborough. The day includes a softball tournament and lots of activities for kids, such as a moon walk, face painting, balloon-making, and games. Former Red Sox players Jerry Moses and Jim Lonborg, former Boston Bruin Ken Hodge, and former NFL linebacker Rick Middleton will be on hand.
Anyone who wants to play in the softball tournament should show up for 9 a.m. registration and will be assigned to a team. The Opening Ceremony is at 10 a.m. At noon, there will be a raffle of a wide assortment of donated items, such as signed sports memorabilia, Red Sox tickets, and golf packages.
Ice cream, cupcakes, hamburgers and hot dogs will be available throughout the day.
Fidrych catapulted to fame and captivated the nation's attention as a pitcher for the Detroit Tigers in 1976, when he was named Rookie of the Year. With his headful of blond curls, he became known as “The Bird” for his resemblance to Sesame Street's Big Bird. His quirky habits, like talking to the ball, earned him a spot in every baseball fan's heart, and he ended up on the cover of Rolling Stone, among many other magazines. After his career ended, he returned to Northborough, and continued his charitable work until he died in an accident in 2009.
Proceeds from Make Your Mark will benefit the Miracle League of Massachusetts, a non-profit that gives children with physical, mental and emotional challenges the chance to play baseball in an organized league. The League, which serves more than 50 families from Central Massachusetts and beyond, is in the process of building a special field in Acton that will be equipped with modifications such as padded bases. Make your Mark will also provide scholarships to local Special Olympians traveling to compete in tournaments.
Fidrych's wife, Ann Fidrych, and her daughter, Jessica, recently watched a Miracle League baseball game.
“It's just absolutely amazing to see how happy those kids were,”” she said.
And Mark Fidrych was all about fun. Last year, Make your Mark raised almost $33,000. This year, all donations will be matched. Donations may be made online at www.markfidrychfoundation.org or by contacting Mark Philbin at 978-833-7198.
“It was incredible fun last year,”” said Ann Fidrych. “This is about Mark. He is able through this foundation, I feel, to continue his charitable work. And it's for Jess, for her to continue her father's legacy. He's like that.”
Jessica Fidrych runs Chet's Diner in Northborough.