With the Tigers wallowing at the bottom of the AL East one player would emerge as a fan favorite for not only Tigers fans, but also all of baseball. That player was 22-year-old rookie pitcher Mark Fidrych who earned the nickname of The Bird, and would thrill fans with his antics on the mound and the way he dominated AL batters. Fidrych would often fidget with the dirt on the mound and talk to the baseball before delivering a pitch would be the player everyone would come out to see in 1976. The Tigers would sell out every game he pitched, and when he went on the road they would notice larger then normal crowds there just to watch him. Fidrych would become the top story of the first half of the season and even started in the All-Star Game. At season's end Fidrych would capture the AL ERA title, and won 19 games on the way to the Rookie of the Year. However the Tigers could only mange to finish in 5th Place with a 74-87 record.