At 6-foot-7, Henninger is a few inches taller than Fidrych. But he has the same bushy mop and contorts and fidgets on the mound in a manner reminiscent of the former AL Rookie of the Year. Oh, yeah. His nickname is “Big Bird.”
“At home, that’s what the public address announcer calls me when I’m on the mound,” said Henninger, who wasn’t even born until three years after Fidrych retired. “I fidget a lot on the mound, I have all these motions out there. And I’m long and lanky like him. I never saw him pitch, though, not even on tape.
“He had that one year when he couldn’t do anything wrong. That would be fine with me if I pitched like that but not just for one year.”
Henninger was drafted in the 21st round of the ’05 Amateur Draft out of Messiah College (Division III). As we can see from the lovely photograph above, the budding Bird also starred for Messiah’s basketball squad.