Mark Pulliam had a story that would put even the most well-rounded athlete to shame: Not only had he played major-league ball for the Yankees, but he’d also been commissioned by George Steinbrenner to paint a portrait of Yankee Stadium to hang in the club’s front office. Paul McCartney was a fan of his work, and Tiger Woods even owned one of his pieces. But this Renaissance man had another talent, too: duping Orlando Magazine into running a profile of him, because it turns out he made the whole story up.
Apparently the magazine didn’t verify anything beyond the fact that Pulliam was a full-time artist, and after his story ran, in an article titled “The Natural,” a reader called their attention to the fact that Pulliam had never played in the majors. (This isn’t terribly hard to verify, by the way.) So the magazine, presumably hard at work on September’s Sidd Finch cover story, did a little bit of belated fact-checking and found he’d never played for the Yankees (or for the University of Florida, as he also claimed). Yankee officials also confirmed to them that his painting of the stadium never hung in the team’s offices, and we’ll go out on a limb and confirm they were laughing pretty hard when they fielded that phone call.
We’re not sure what Pulliam’s endgame was — publicity, we guess, since even after confronted with evidence that his baseball career was fabricated, he insisted that the parts about celebrities owning his work were true. But maybe he was just hoping to land a tryout with the Yankees for real. Considering their alternatives for this weekend, he couldn’t do much worse, could he?