Northborough – The Mark Fidrych Foundation presents its third annual Make Your Mark fundraiser with a Sports Raffle Night on Sunday, Aug. 11, and a softball tournament on Saturday, Aug. 24.
“It was incredible fun last year,” said Ann Fidrych, widow of Mark Fidrych. “This is about Mark. He is able through this foundation, I feel, to continue his charitable work.”
The Sports Raffle Night begins at 5 p.m. at Chet's Diner, 191 Main St. (Route 20), the iconic Northborough eatery owned and operated by Mark and Ann's daughter, Jessica Fidrych. Raffle prizes include Red Sox tickets, Patriots tickets, autographed sports memorabilia, golf packages, area restaurant gift certificates and more. Raffle tickets are $5 each and available at the diner.
The softball tournament gets underway at Casey and Memorial Fields on East Main Street in Northborough with opening ceremonies at 10 a.m. In addition to watching 12 area teams, including the return of the Special Olympics team, in fun-filled softball play, the community is invited to enjoy festival events such as face painting, balloon creations, food and entertainment.
The Mark Fidrych Foundation is named for one of Northborough's best known and most loved residents. In 1976, he was named Rookie of the Year while playing with the Detroit Tigers. His signature mop of blond curls earned him the nickname “The Bird,”” for his resemblance to Big Bird. A combination of charm and quirky habits – like talking to the ball – landed him on the cover of Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated, and many other magazines. His career was cut short by an injury, but he continued his charitable work until his death in 2009.
The Mark Fidrych Foundation is a registered 501(c)3 organization and donations are tax deductible. Last year, the event raised more than $46,000, thanks to the support and participation of the community. Proceeds benefit nonprofit organizations that give children with physical, mental and emotional challenges the chance to play sports.
In 2012, The Mark Fidrych Foundation donated $30,000 to The Miracle League of Massachusetts, money used to give children with special needs access to baseball programs. This spring, the foundation subsidized registration fees for children playing in area Little League Challenger Divisions and sponsored an adaptive skiing trip to Loon Mountain for autistic children.
More information can be found at MarkFidrychFoundation.org, on The Mark Fidrych Foundation Facebook page, and by following @MFidrychFndn on Twitter.