Firing off April Fools myths like Sidd Finch fastballs

Sidd Finch winds up to deliver his 168 mph fastball to a sandcrab on a Florida sand dune.

Sidd Finch - aka Joe Berton - is among the most famous April Fools gags ever. (Photo: Flickr)

No April Fools 2010 wiki would be complete without a nod to the curious case of one Mr. Sidd Finch. Baseball fans who stumbled across the April 1, 1985 Sports Illustrated story must have simply glossed over the fact that it was written by George Plimpton, a notorious sports humorist, among the other letters in his literary Renaissance man palette. Many actually believed that the eccentric, quasi-mystical Finch made it to the New York Mets by way of Tibet (without payday loans, even) and that his fastball was routinely 65 mph faster than the fastest ever recorded in a baseball game. What they didn’t know is that the Sidd Finch that posed for photographs with the Metropolitans was none other than Joe Berton, a middle-school teacher from Oak Park, Ill.

His run as Sidd Finch makes him an eternal April Fools gag

Joe Berton may enjoy the game of baseball, but he had nothing on Sidd Finch. Finch’s love for the game was powerful enough to sway him from a life of yoga and yak herding. The legend goes that Finch developed his ability to fire a 168 mph fastball while wearing only one shoe when he chased snow leopards away from the yak herds that lived outside his Tibetan monastery, according to the Wednesday Journal of Oak Park and River Forest. How those two tasks relate specifically is anyone’s guess, but it may be explained by Sidd Finch’s love for the French horn. Or perhaps not.

Sidd Finch – aka Joe Berton – signs autographs for fans

Twenty-five years after his April Fools moment in the sun, Joe Berton still gets requests to sign autographs. Hopefully he doesn’t take the mound and attempt to let his old heater fly – at least without stretching first. In Aurora, Ill., Sidd Finch is so beloved that he will be inducted into the America’s Legends Museum. Joe Berton will be there with enough Sharpies to sign for everyone who comes around. A photo of Sidd Finch, complete with Mets jacket and the legendary single boot, will be enshrined in the Legends museum.

And the Mets still need pitching. Perhaps Sidd Finch would consider it a small personal loan of his time.

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