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04/16/09 1:13 PM ET

Fidrych's death ruled an accident

Authorities confirm hurler suffocated working on truck

The Worcester, Mass., medical examiner confirmed Thursday that former pitching great Mark Fidrych's death was an accident on his farm in nearby Northborough, Mass.

The 54-year-old Tigers legend passed away Monday. A friend had found Fidrych underneath the 10-wheel dump truck that he drove for his gravel business. The death was immediately suspected to be accidental.

Mark Fidrych, 1954-2009

The Associated Press reported the findings through the Worcester District Attorney's office.

Fidrych had been working on something beneath the truck when his clothes became entangled in the truck's power takeoff shaft, a spinning part. It's a driveshaft that can be used to power another piece of equipment. Fidrych died by suffocation.

In some ways, Fidrych passed away doing something he loved. According to friends and acquaintances, he always enjoyed working on cars and other vehicles, dating back to his days as a teenager working at a gas station in Northborough. Even during his playing days, he was known for working on cars during Spring Training with the Tigers in Lakeland, Fla.

Fidrych bought a dump truck soon after his retirement from baseball in 1983 and opened his gravel business, settling into his post-baseball career as a regular businessman in Northborough rather than simply a baseball celebrity.

Visitation for the former Tigers pitcher will be held Thursday from 4-8 p.m. ET at First Parish Unitarian Church in Northborough. Funeral services will take place Friday at 11 a.m. at the same church.

The Tigers held a moment of silence for Fidrych prior to their Wednesday afternoon game against the White Sox at Comerica Park. They also played a video tribute remembering his career and his incredible 1976 season, which won him the American League Rookie of the Year Award that year.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.