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Waking With a Smile

I woke up this morning with a smile still on my face after being at the Challenger Basketball Finale last night!  Pure joy radiated from the faces of each athlete as they received their trophy!   But it wasn’t just the athletes! The room was filled with an electric charge and everyone was smiling…the coaches, the buddies, family members…It was contagious!

This is what the Fidrych Foundation is all about… Giving young athletes the opportunities to feel the joy and excitement of playing sports…Last night was a wonderful confirmation for Jess and I which helps to stoke our internal flame to continue our efforts.  Our 9th year of fundraising begins with renewed energy….thank you

Comments from family members: 

“Another great season is in the books.

Thank you coaches and buddies and the Mark Fidrych Foundation for your continued support.”

“Another wonderful season - we are so blessed and grateful for the coaches and many volunteers and the support of the Mark Fidrych Foundation! Come on, spring and baseball!!!!!!!!

“Thank you for bringing smiles to so many kids and their families!”


Why we do what we do?

Making My Mark with the Fidrych Foundation

Today, thanks to The Mark Fidrych Foundation, I was invited to play in their 8th annual charity softball tournament.  They sponsored me and all the friends and family of the Northborough Challenger Baseball League.  Like in past years, it was a great way to put a closing on my Challenger Baseball season. The Fidrych Foundation has sponsored my team for the last 5 years and I am so appreciative to have the opportunity to play organized baseball.

Today’s event, held at Memorial Field and Casey Field in Northborough, was even more exciting than last year’s event.  I played third base on the Challenger/Miracle League team and my dad Ken played with me on the field at first.  He batted after me and you can see us both on the bases below.

I had the opportunity to spend some time with some of my teammates after the game, including NCAA 1989 Final Four basketball star for Illinois, Matthew Schnaderbeck, along with his wife, Catherine, and his two daughters, Jessica and Alexis.  Here’s me with Matthew and his daughters after we had lunch.

I had a lot of fun playing softball and even caught a hot line drive hit right to me at third and also made a few plays throwing to my dad at first.  My teammates and I all got to bat twice, once each inning, so I was happy to get two hits.  After I finished playing, I met up with one of my long time Challenger coaches, Sean Durkin, who has taught me so much over the years and he told me he was proud to see how well I played.

Before leaving, I was very excited to get some photo opportunities with some well-known sports personalities. First, I took a photo with Tessie the Green Monster.  After that, I met up with Women’s Olympic Hockey Gold Medalist Haley Skarupa.  Last but not least, I met up again with sports broadcaster Joe Braverman, who graduated from my high school, Algonquin Regional High School and now I am trying to follow in his footsteps with the same great high school sports coverage that Joe did for four years.  I have already started with “Gonk Knocks” covering the T-Hawks football team and look forward to getting some help from Joe during the year.

I’d like to thank Ann Fidyrich and the entire Fidrych Foundation staff and volunteers for sponsoring me year after year to play baseball and softball in the Spring and Summer.  Today’s event was a lot of fun and I can’t wait to play again in the Spring.


2017 Winter Musings

Although the weather is cold, my mind is focused on the sunny days of summer and planning for the 7th annual Mark Your Mark Softball Tournament.

2016 was a busy year remembering Mark.  MLB Network did a documentary, many newspapers and magazines did feature stories on Mark’s 40th anniversary as Rookie of the Year. As I reflect back, what I remember most is his life after baseball and his constant drive to do for other. 


  • “Having recently watched the Mark Fidrych story on MLB channel and seeing how much he loved to give back to the community, we are fortunate to receive this donation in his honor and continue his mission of helping children and adults with special needs.”
  • "We finished our last game of the season today! I know, it goes by so quick! We had pizzas and drinks for everyone, and trophies & medals for all 37 players! The most we've had yet!
  • Another big Thank You to Ann and your whole organization, for another great season!" 
  • "Dear Fidrych Family, thank you for continuing good works in Mark's name. The summer of 1976 was so amazing. I was a little kid playing little league in a small town in Michigan and I just plain loved The Bird. I was 11 years old and it was a joy"
  • How #sweet is this story that was shared with Ann... A young woman attended a school fair in a nearby town. She noticed that two boys chose Mark Fidrych for their biography fair. She asked them why they had chosen Mark, and they said, "He knows how we feel and he teaches you to never give up!"


Thanks to your support and commitment the Fidrych Foundation awarded close to $80,000 in grants in 2016 to area programs that support sports for individuals with disabilities. This year, with your support, we hope to continue to make a difference locally. Please consider donating today.  CLICK HERE

Looking forward to another successful year!

Play ball!
ann and jess


Remember When?

Remember when you received your first award or recognition.   Perhaps you won a spelling bee, were named most likely to succeed, or got an athletic trophy.  Think about the feeling….the overwhelming sense of pride and how your family and friends shared your success.

Now think about the children and adults we support through the efforts of the Mark Fidrych Foundation.  Many of our student athletes are participating in sports for the first time and finally have the opportunity to experience this very sense of pride.

Here are excerpts of a letter we recently received from Challenger Coaches:

I’d like to thank you for allowing the foundation to continue to fund the Challenger League.  It is truly amazing what it brings to the lives of these young kids and their parents.

We just wrapped up the 2015 Soccer season and the kids were thrilled with their trophies.  It was really mind-blowing when some of the new players announced during our trophy ceremony they have never received a trophy before in their life.  They were holding them up over their heads like it was the World Series trophy for their parents and others to cheer and enjoy that moment.  Over the course of time in our program, those children will have a shelf full of trophies they and their families can enjoy and brag about… just like everyone else.

This really explains how deep Mark’s foundation reaches.

I begin this year with a renewed sense of mission for the athletes, their families and the community.  It’s about the smiles on their faces and how the Foundation helps in this effort.

The Foundation relies on community support through sponsorships, gifts in kind and donations.  Your support truly makes a difference!