In George Plimpton's fantastical hoax in Sports Illustrated about a reclusive yogi and pitcher named Sidd Finch, he concocted a scene at spring training in 1985 in which the Mets measured the speed of the mystery man's fastball. Mel Stottlemyre, the pitching coach, held the Jugs radar gun and Ronn Reynolds, a reserve catcher, squatted behind home plate in St. Petersburg, Fla.
"Stottlemyre heard the pop of the ball in Reynolds's mitt and the little squeak of pain from the catcher," Plimpton wrote. The Jugs reading told the improbable story of a ball that traveled 168 miles an hour.
"Stottlemyre remembers whistling in amazement," Plimpton wrote, "and then he heard Reynolds say, 'Don't tell me, Mel, I don't want to know.' "
No one, at least no one in the nonfiction world, has ever thrown a ball that fast. But on Tuesday night during Game 1 of the American League Championship Series, Tigers reliever Joel Zumaya unleashed two fastballs in the eighth inning that were measured at 103 m.p.h., and a third that was clocked at 102.
Or maybe he didn't.
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