Do You Remember the Sports Illustrated’s April Fool’s Day Prank of 1985?

Sidd Fynch

“He’s a pitcher, part yogi and part recluse. Impressively liberated from our opulent life-style, Sidd’s deciding about yoga — and his future in baseball.”

That’s how the article entitled, “The Curious Case of Sidd Finch” started.  It was a 13-page review of a young, unknown baseball pitching phenom named Sidd Finch.  What followed was one of the strangest stories in the history of sports in general, and Sports Illustrated in particular.

No one could believe what they were reading.  This strange young man who pitched while wearing a single work boot on his right foot and could throw the ball at an unheard of speed of 168 mph!  But none of it was real.  It was all an elaborate April Fool’s Day hoax perpetrated by writer George Plimpton and Sports Illustrated.

Fans who read the article couldn’t believe that the Mets had stumbled onto this player.  A couple of team owners called the Commissioner asking how their batters could face Finch safely.  Several major news agencies sent reporters to Florida trying to get an interview.  The nation at large fell for it, hook…line…and sinker.

The following week in their April 8th issue, Sports Illustrated printed a smaller article announcing Finch’s retirement.  In the April 15th issue, they plainly revealed it had all been a hoax.  They had actually made it known that it was a hoax via a code in the original article.  Check out the first letters of the first words from the article that I used at the start of this post.  It spells out HAPPY APRIL FOOLS DAY.

Go back in time and relive the fun of the article by clicking below.  It’s a reprint of the article from the Sports Illustrated’s magazine dated April 1, 1985.

The Curious Case of Sidd Finch