On April 1, 1985, Sports Illustrated featured an article in their magazine titled, “The Curious Case of Sidd Finch,” a story about an unknown baseball phenom with an unusual past.
As the story goes Finch was raised in an English orphanage, attended Harvard University and learned “mind and body mastery” in Tibet. This unusual training allowed Finch to throw a baseball with incredible accuracy and velocity - approximately 168 MPH!
As the legend of Finch’s pitching prowess spread throughout the land - journalists, media outlets and particularly Mets’ fans clamored for more information regarding the right-handed flame thrower. However, it wasn’t long until the world of baseball discovered the truth about the unprecedented prospect - Sidd Finch was a hoax. Famed sports writer and author George Plimpton had pulled off one of the greatest “April Fools” jokes of all-time.
Eventually, Plimpton’s prank was broadened into a novel, focusing on Finch’s excruciating decision between a sports career and playing the french horn - that old chestnut. Plimpton’s book was entertaining and received good reviews, but it never matched up to the hype of the Sports Illustrated prank in 1985.
The photo of the tall, lanky “Finch” wearing a single boot and throwing a baseball at the beach is a lasting image for many baseball fans. The individual who posed for the iconic photo was a junior high art teacher named Joe Berton from Oak Park, Illinois. Berton, who stood at 6’4” tall and wore a size 14 shoe, was a friend of Sports Illustrated photographer Lane Stewart.
It’s been 34 years since the Sidd Finch hoax and to this day nobody has approached the insane velocity that was reported at the time. But suppose that a prospect like Finch did exist - How would a hitter gear up for that kind of velocity? With MaxBP Reaction Training, of course!
To simulate Finch’s 168 MPH fastball, stand approximately 20 feet from the MaxBP pitching machine and configure the machine to High + Turbo + Super. At this setting a hitter can recreate the the fictional experience of facing the greatest prospect that never was - Sidd Finch. Warning! This is is a very fast speed and only experienced hitters should attempt hitting pitches at this velocity.
It’s highly unlikely that any living ballplayer will ever face a pitcher that throws the kind of gas featured by Finch; however there are plenty of other power pitchers to train for in the meantime. For example, Aroldis Chapman, Jordan Hicks and Tayron Guerrero each featured a fastball that broke the 102 MPH barrier in the 2019 season.
To recreate a 102 MPH fastball, move back to approximately 30 feet from the MaxBP machine and configure the machine to High + Turbo + Super. This setting will represent what it’s like to face some of the nastiest closers in modern day Major League Baseball. For more information on the velocity that best suits your training needs, check out "MaxBP’s Reaction Time Chart."
The best way to remedy a pitcher with deadly velocity is with bat speed. Pitchers with dominant fastballs aren’t going anywhere, so if a hitter wants to be successful they need to train accordingly. Coordinate a plan to get plenty of reps on a regular basis, this dedicated training will lead to bat speed capable of catching up to any fastball. Will you be ready for the next Sidd Finch?