Twenty-five years ago today, the April 1, 1985 issue of Sports Illustrated hit newsstands. Amongst all the coverage of the NCAA Final Four was one particular article that caught the eyes of many Mets fans.
The late, great George Plimpton had written an article for that particular issue called “The Curious Case of Sidd Finch”. In the article, Plimpton went on to discuss how Finch was a rookie who was invited to Mets’ spring training because he possessed a 168 MPH fastball. The backstory on Finch was as incredible as the blazing fastball. Alas, the story was just an elaborate April Fool’s Day joke.
Astute readers who paid close attention to the subheading of the article (“He’s a pitcher, part yogi and part recluse. Impressively liberated from our opulent life-style, Sidd’s deciding about yoga.”) would have noticed that the first letter of each word in the subheading spelled out “Happy April Fools Day”.
With references to former Mets pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre and former Mets centerfielder Lenny Dykstra, many readers believed the article to be a true story, when in fact, Plimpton and the Mets organization collaborated on the hoax.
Now it’s time to jump into the DeLorean and come back from 1985 to the present day. The 2010 Mets are struggling with their starting rotation. After Johan Santana, the rotation is full of question marks. John Maine is pencilled in as the #2 starter behind Santana, but he’s coming off an injury-plagued season and after “hurling” his final pitch, had to leave today’s Grapefruit League game against the Nationals with a particularly bad stomach virus.
Jonathon Niese is unproven in the major leagues, but has shown enough to Jerry Manuel for him to proclaim Niese as his #3 starter. Is this a testament to Niese’s ability or is this Manuel’s way of saying he doesn’t trust Mike Pelfrey (#4 in the rotation) and Oliver Perez (numero cinco) enough to insert them behind Santana and Maine? Both Pelfrey and Perez are coming off awful seasons and neither pitcher has performed well in Spring Training.
It’s too bad Sidd Finch was only an imaginary character. With all the question marks surrounding the Mets rotation in 2010, I’d take my chances on an imaginary pitcher before sending anyone not named Santana out to the mound.
Side note: The Sidd Finch article wasn’t the only Mets-related bit of news that happened 25 years ago today. On this day in 1985, Mets first baseman Daniel Murphy was born. Happy 25th birthday, Daniel! Just please don’t aggravate your injury when you blow out your candles.