Tuesday, Mar. 16, 2010

The Curious Case of Sidd Finch

In 1985, Sports Illustrated published one of the most legendary put-ons in the history of sports journalism: the implausible tale of rookie baseball pitcher Hayden "Sidd" Finch. Finch, a gangly phenom who pitched wearing a single hiking boot on his right foot, could hurl a ball at an unheard-of 168 m.p.h. — a magical skill he'd learned in a Tibetan monastery — and he was going to sign with the New York Mets. But upon closer inspection, the subhead of George Plimpton's piece read as follows: "He's a pitcher, part yogi and part recluse. Impressively liberated from our opulent lifestyle, Sidd's deciding about yoga — and his future in baseball." The first letter of each word spelled out "Happy April Fools' Day." Mind you, in light of their team's sorry history, many fans would have found the idea of the Mets signing such a superhuman prodigy too good to be true. And for the record, the seventh meaning of finch in Plimpton's Oxford English Dictionary was "small lie."