Baseball Tidbits

Testing the Limits - 1

Baseball's long history has been dotted with colorful violations of its unwritten Code of Conduct. (Baseball Digest Jan/Feb 2022)

  • 1892

    Boston catcher King Kelly drops his mask and mitt at the plate as Cleveland's Jesse Burkett rounds third, leading Burkett to ease up, thinking that there will be no play. Instead, Kelly catches the relay with his bare hand, tagging the bewildered runner out.

  • 1905
    Sign Stealing

    An outfield advertisement for hats is used by the Yankees to signal hitters, with the "H" in "hatter" rotating one way or another depending on the upcoming pitch.

  • 1907

    Tigers infielder Germany Schaefer hit his only home run of the season and carries his bat with him around the bases, stopping every few steps to raise it to his shoulder like a rifle and pretending to shoot A's pitcher Rube Waddell. The next time Schaefer comes to bat he has to duck out of the way of a fastball at his head.

  • 1918
    During the World Series, Red Sox manager Ed Barrow tells pitcher Babe Ruth to "brush off" Chicago's Les Mann. Ruth follows instructions ... sort of. In the days before players wore names on their jerseys, Ruth forgets what Mann looks like and drills Max Flack instead.

  • 1947
    Don't Mention a No-Hitter in Progress

    When Yankees pitcher Bill Bevens takes a no-hitter into the ninth inning of the 1947 World Series, broadcaster Mel Allen refuses to reference it on the air. Allen, however, only works the first half of the game. Red Barber, working the final four-and-a-half innings, keeps it a constant topic, only to see Bevens give up two wallks and a two-run double in the ninth and lose the game to Brooklyn, 2-1.

  • 1948
    Sign Stealing
    The Cleveland Indians use a telescopic sight brought back by Bob Feller from WWII to steal opponents' signs from beyond the outfield wall. A man in the scoreboard signals hitters sometimes by dangling an arm through an open slot on the scoreboard. Maybe it's karma: Cleveland wins the World Series ... and never repeats the feat.

  • 1952
    Sign Stealing

    With Brooklyn down by a run in Game 4 of the 1952 World Series, Andy Pafko tries to score from third base on a suicide squeeze. Yankees P Allie Reynolds intentionally places the pitch too low and away for the batter to reach, and Pafko is thrown out by 10 feet. The pitch was called because Yankees 2B Billy Martin recognized Dodgers manager Charlie Dressen's squeeze sign from teir time together in the minor leagues.