The hottest prospect in Mets history is a lifelong Cubs fan
April 1, 2013 8:51 PM Subscribe
"I called Joe,"
posted by zarq (23 comments total)
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Stewart remembers, "and asked if he wanted to come to spring training with me. I said, 'The Mets have this pitcher they picked up. They got him pitching in secret, under a big tarp. He has a 168 mile an hour fastball and he plays the French horn and went to Harvard and he was raised in Tibet by Buddhist monks and he pitches with one foot bare and one foot in a boot. And guess what? You're going to be him.'"
28 years ago today:
"Sports Illustrated ran one of its most celebrated articles, "The Curious Case of Sidd Finch" - in which George Plimpton crafted a 14-page exposé on a bizarre, out-of-nowhere Mets phenom who fired baseballs at a stupefying 168 miles an hour. It instantly became its generation's "War of the Worlds," leaving thousands of frenzied fans either delighted at the April Fools' prank or furious at being duped.
The Museum of Hoaxes lists the Sidd Finch prank second on their Top 100 April Fool's Day Hoaxes of All Time
. (As judged by notoriety, creativity, and number of people duped.)
Reportedly, the magazine received over 20,000(!) letters about the article.
"You lousy, rotten, good-for-nothing blankety-blanks. You got me hook, line and sinker—and I loved it. — MIKE LIDLE, Halifax, Pa."
The photos that accompanied the story,
(and a couple that didn't.)
Wikipedia: Mets fans were overjoyed at their luck in finding such a player, and flooded Sports Illustrated with requests for more information.
The sports editor of one of New York's newspapers complained to Jay Horwitz, the public relations director of the Mets, for allowing Sports Illustrated to have the scoop. Two general managers called Commissioner of Baseball Peter Ueberroth to ask how their batters could face Finch safely. Meanwhile, the St. Petersburg Times sent a reporter to find Finch, and a radio talk show host claimed he saw Finch pitch. The Mets gave Finch a locker between George Foster and Darryl Strawberry. The three major networks, CBS, NBC, and ABC, and the local St. Petersburg, Florida newspapers sent reporters to Al Lang Stadium for a press conference about Finch. At the April 2 press conference, Berton announced his retirement.
Via: The Longform Guide to Hoaxes, Pranks and Outright Fabrications