JUN 2013

EyeWorld is the official news magazine of the American Society of Cataract & Refractive Surgery.

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68 EW IN OTHER NEWS June 2013 Ophthalmologist's love of baseball morphs into book on beloved player by Ellen Stodola EyeWorld Staff Writer Doug Wilson, MD, is in private practice in Indiana and finds time to travel and do research for his books. Source (all): Doug Wilson, MD D ouglas R. Wilson, MD, Columbus, Ind., didn't let go of his passion for baseball, even though he did not become a professional player. Between his work as an ophthalmologist in private practice, Dr. Wilson is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research and writes books about the sport known as "America's pastime." Dr. Wilson's second book, The Bird: The Life and Legacy of Mark Fidrych, was released in March, chronicling the life and career of a player popular a number of years ago. Dr. Wilson has plans for his third book to be published next year. "I always loved baseball when I was little," Dr. Wilson said. "I was the kid who was memorizing the back of baseball cards and checking the box scores first thing every morning." He said he frequently played baseball with other kids in his neighborhood or practiced by himself. "It's just something I've always enjoyed." Dr. Wilson played baseball in high school and college. "I joke that my grade point average was higher than my batting average in college, so I had to go to medical school to make a living," he said. "There's a certain point when you realize you need to do something else to make a living." Dr. Wilson said he went to college with the idea of being pre-med and becoming an ophthalmologist. He had job shadowed a Mark Fidrych leans down to pat the ground. His peculiar habits during games were part of what made him so memorable. Cover of Dr. Wilson's new book, The Bird: The Life and Legacy of Mark Fidrych, which tells the story of Mark Fidrych of the Detroit Tigers and his immense popularity despite the fact that he had such a short career. ophthalmologist in his town and found it an interesting profession. Though he ultimately pursued ophthalmology, he never abandoned baseball. In addition to a lifelong interest in baseball, Dr. Wilson has enjoyed writing as well. "I liked writing, too, and until recently I never had the guts to write something down and show it to somebody else." He started writing as a hobby and picked a topic he enjoyed—baseball. "Mainly, I wanted to write about the game when I was little, the heroes, the guys who were popular when I was growing up in the '60s and '70s," Dr. Wilson said. Dr. Wilson said one of the most enjoyable parts of his work as a writer is doing the research. He finds it fun to look through old magazines and newspapers, as well as to be able to find the players and interview them. Many of the players he is interested in speaking to are now in their 60s, 70s and 80s, and they enjoy reminiscing about the game and their time playing. "One of the main things that interests me is the personalities of the guys, going beyond the box score, beyond the numbers," Dr. Wilson said. Dr. Wilson's first book was published several years ago by a small academic company. For his newest Picture of an autographed Mark Fidrych baseball card. His appearance and floppy hair helped earn him the nickname "the Bird." book, The Bird: The Life and Legacy of Mark Fidrych, he got an agent to help attract a major publisher. As a result, St. Martin's Press, a division of Macmillan, published the book. It focuses on Mark Fidrych, who was popular in the 1970s. "Mark Fidrych was probably one of the most unique and beloved players in baseball history," Dr. Wilson said. "He burst on the scene as an unknown rookie in 1976, and he took the country by storm." Dr. Wilson said Mr. Fidrych's appeal came both from his appearance and demeanor. He was nicknamed "the Bird" because some people said he looked like Big Bird with his floppy, curly hair and tall, skinny build. "He had this incredible amount of energy," Dr. Wilson said. "He was constantly moving." A lot of Mr. Fidrych's movements were thought to be nervous energy to keep him focused, Dr. Wilson said. He would drop to his knees and groom the sand on the mound or run all over the field and shake hands with his teammates after plays. "He held the ball out in front of him and moved his lips, and everybody said he talked to the ball," Dr. Wilson said. Dr. Wilson said that Mr. Fidrych had a contagious enthusiasm. "After a while, he started selling out every game he pitched." Mr. Fidrych played for the Detroit Tigers, and he became so popular that there were continued on page 70

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