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1980s / Sidd Finch Hoax 1985
On April 1, 1985, Sports Illustrated perpetrated a classic journalistic hoax as an April Fools joke. George Plimpton authored a feature story titled 'The Curious Case of Sidd Finch.' It was about a mysterious rookie pitcher who was the talk of the New York Mets' spring training camp. The story said Finch was a French horn player and part mystic, who, through studying yoga, could throw a baseball 168 miles per hour. He pitched wearing a heavy work boot on his right foot while he wore nothing on his left foot. SI got more than 2,000 letters, many from baseball fans who fell for Plimpton's tale. The teaser for the story was the giveaway: 'He's a pitcher, part yogi and part recluse. Impressively liberated from our opulent lifestyle, Sidd's deciding about yoga...' If you write the first letter from each of the words you get 'HAPPY APRIL FOOLS DAY.'