This Was The Best April Fools Joke In New York Sports History
There have been plenty of great April Fools jokes played on sports fans throughout the years. Prior to web access and social media, it was harder to debunk some of these pranks. The greatest April 1st hoax in New York sports history came courtesy of Sports Illustrated almost four decades ago.
It was April 1, 1985. Readers of the popular sports weekly magazine were treated to an article about a young New York Mets prospect who could throw a baseball 168 mph. Now, this prank couldn't happen today. Quickly, you would look up the the players minor league statistics. But in 1985, Mets fans across the country took the bait.
"The Curious Case Of Sidd Finch," written by quirky sports author George Plimpton, detailed the life of this once-in-a-lifetime Mets prospect. Let's not forget how promising the Mets were in the spring of 1985. The Mets had just acquired Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter and had a young pitcher named Dwight Gooden. Adding Sidd Finch wrapped up the pennant for the Shea Stadium faithful.
The fascinating story of Sidd Finch was all a hoax, an idea originally created by Sports Illustrated's managing editor, Mark Mulvoy, and written beautifully by Plimpton. Part of what made the story so believable were the photographs of Sidd Finch, taken by SI photographer Lane Stewart, "who recruited his friend, art teacher and occasional assistant Joe Berton to portray the fictional Sidd Finch character." The other part was the total cooperation of the New York Mets players and staff, led by friend of The Drive with Charlie & Dan, PR guru Jay Horowitz pictured below with Finch!
Finch was described as a "part-pitcher, part-yogi" who played the French horn beautifully and looked like "Goofy in one of Walt Disney's cartoon classics" when he threw the ball. It truly was the greatest April Fools joke in Sports History and it given today's technology, it will be tough to top. Definitely worth the time to read 37 years later.