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Thread: Cheating and the game

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    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Cheating and the game

    I found this great article form the Seattle Times circa 1999


    No Bat Or Ball Is Safe When `Doctor' Is In

    Larry Stone

    Seattle Times Staff Reporter

    Gaylord Perry turned 61 Wednesday, and it's not known if he celebrated by spitting on his birthday candles. But it can be verified that Perry still embraces the same philosophy he carried throughout his slippery Hall of Fame career:

    It ain't cheating if you don't get caught.

    "Whatever you can get by with, absolutely," Perry said cheerfully from his North Carolina farm, interrupting the call to accept birthday greetings from his brother, Jim. "Not that I did anything illegal, mind you. In practice I used to do that stuff. I'll tell you this: If they make it legal today, I might make a comeback."

    The art of cheating in baseball is much older than Perry, who merely took it to new extremes, and had fun with it to boot.

    "The day before I'd pitch, I'd shake hands with guys with hands full of grease, just to get them thinking about it," he said.

    The impulse to stretch the rules, in fact, is as old as the game itself, and as predictable as human nature.

    The Orioles of the 1890s used to plant employees in the stands with hand mirrors to shine the sun into the eyes of opponents and hide extra balls in the outfield grass to use at opportune times.

    Fast forward one century, and check out the news from Cleveland last week. The Red Sox have become convinced the Indians are using an outfield camera to steal signs, convincing umpire Tim Welke on Tuesday to force the Indians to cover the camera.

    If true, the Indians are merely upholding a time-honored

    tradition. Roger Bossard, a third-generation groundskeeper working for the White Sox, tells of how his grandfather, Emil, while serving as Indians' groundskeeper, used to sit in the outfield at old Cleveland Municipal Stadium in the 1930s, picking up signs with binoculars.

    "There was a yellow light in the far corner of the scoreboard," Bossard said. "If the light was on, it was a fastball. At old Comiskey Park, there used to be a way of doing it in the scoreboard, too, but I don't want to reveal how. Obviously, we'd never do that now."

    Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. From scuffed balls to corked bats, from tilting foul lines to hidden cameras, rest assured that it's all been done before - and will probably be done again.

    Former major-league pitcher Lary Sorensen, who admits now that he scuffed baseballs with hidden sandpaper late in his career, summed it up this way: "If you ain't cheating, you ain't trying."

    Players don't like to think of it as cheating at all, but merely using every tool available (including many found at the hardware store) to gain an advantage.

    Former Mariner Manager Dick Williams, never accused of being the moral conscience of baseball, put it this way, "Anything short of murder is OK."

    Tiger pitcher Brian Moehler didn't kill or maim anyone (except, perhaps, the baseball) in May when he was suspended 10 games after being caught with sandpaper taped to the thumb of his pitching hand - just the sixth pitcher to be nailed in the last half century.

    The defense offered by Detroit Manager Larry Parrish speaks volumes about the pervasiveness of the crime.

    "I'm not saying that Moe does or does not," Parrish said. "I'm just saying that in the major leagues, as long as I can remember, that has been a part of baseball. There's not a pitching staff in baseball that doesn't have guys who deface a ball occasionally, including Roger Clemens and Nolan Ryan."

    The key, as Perry said, is not to get caught. During a 22-year career in which he blatantly used every gyration possible to insinuate he was illegally loading the ball, Perry was ejected for a spitball only once. That occurred at age 43, when umpire Dave Phillips caught him wet-handed while pitching for the Mariners.

    "The umpires know it's going on most of the time, but they don't want any part of it," said former Giants manager Roger Craig, who in the late 1980s made it his life's mission (ultimately unsuccessful) to nail former Houston ace Mike Scott for scuffing.

    "They don't want to start a big hassle."

    The M's, truth be told, have a sad history of inept cheating. Pitcher Rick Honeycutt was suspended 10 games (the penalty prescribed in the rule book) in 1980 when he was caught with a thumbtack taped to a finger on his gloved hand.

    The following year, Seattle Manager Maury Wills was caught by Yankee Manager Billy Martin instructing the Kingdome groundskeeper to put the batter's box a foot closer to the pitcher's mound. The idea was for the Mariner hitters to get to curveballs before they broke.

    Wills said he was "shocked and dumbfounded" at the accusation, which must have been close to the reaction that Graig Nettles of the Yankees had in 1974 when his bat broke and six super balls flew out.

    Or Dodger rookie Wilton Guerrero, when he broke a bat two years ago. Rather than run to first on the resulting ground ball, Guerrero frantically tried to pick up his bat fragments. Alas, too late - cork had flown everywhere, and Guerrero was suspended.

    At least Guerrero admitted his infraction, saying he brought the corked bat from the Dominican Republic. The standard defense of most corked-bat victims, such as Houston's Billy Hatcher in 1987, Cleveland's Albert Belle in 1994 and the Reds' Chris Sabo in 1996, is that they used someone else's bat, and they had no idea it was corked.

    When he was nabbed, Sabo hit a pop-up, prompting teammate Eddie Taubensee to ponder, "Let's see, Sabes popped to the shortstop with cork. Does that mean he would have popped to the pitcher without it?"

    That speaks to a golden rule of cheating: With the risk involved, you better make sure it helps.

    Perry got to the Hall of Fame with his wet pitches. After he retired, Hall of Famer Whitey Ford admitted that he, too, threw trick pitches, "but only when I needed an out."

    In a New York Times article called, "Confessions of a Gunkball Artist," Ford told of how he would plant mud pies around the mound and load up the ball while tying his shoes. In one World Series game against the Dodgers in 1963, "I used enough mud that day to build a dam," he said.

    Don Sutton was another Hall of Famer widely believed to benefit from illegal pitches, though he was never caught. One time, an umpire was checking his glove for foreign objects and found a note that said, "You're getting warm, but it's not here."

    Norm Cash readily admitted that he used a corked bat throughout his career, but the Tiger first baseman had no explanation why his average dropped from .361 in 1961, when he won the batting title, to .243 in '62.

    After his retirement, former Royal star Amos Otis admitted that he, too, used an altered bat for the majority of his career. "I had enough cork and super balls in there to blow away anything," Otis said. "Over my whole career, it probably meant about 193 home runs for me."

    Otis hit 193 home runs in his career.

    Baseball observers differ on whether cheating is as prevalent today as it used to be.

    "I don't recall much of a problem with scuffed balls recently, and corked bats are a dead issue now," said Marty Springstead, the American League supervisor of umpires. "Awhile back, it was. These things come in cycles."

    Says 83-year-old Hub Kittle, former pitching coach of the St. Louis Cardinals now instructing Mariner minor-league pitchers: "They don't want to do it anymore. We used to cheat because we had to get them out to keep our job. We dreamed about all the things we could do to get the hitters out."

    Kittle has more than a half century's persective on the matter, having had the opportunity to get spitball tips from Burleigh Grimes. Grimes was the last legal practitioner of the spitter as one of 17 pitchers allowed to keep throwing the pitch after it was banned in 1920.

    "I was the biggest cheater in the country," Kittle says with some pride, speaking of his long minor-league pitching career. "When I was with Bremerton, we'd go into Victoria, and they'd say, the bandit's pitching tonight.

    "These young kids today, they don't know nothing," he added. "They're scared to death, scared to get caught. Well, a couple of them are bandits."

    Perry believes that necessity is the mother of deception. Asked if he thought much ball-altering goes on in today's game, he replied, "I imagine it crosses their mind, especially if their ERA is 5 or 6, their contract is up for renewal, and they want to find a way to continue playing."

    Said Sorensen: "I think it's still out there in a lot of different ways, shapes and form. And not just pitchers. I think a significant amount of corking goes on."

    Pitchers are willing to take the risks of defacing a ball for the simple reason that a scuffed ball is so hard to hit.

    While scratched balls dart to one side or the other, a spitball (or any wet ball, with Vaseline, slippery elm and K-Y jelly serving the same purpose as spit) has the spinless action of a knuckleball while dropping sharply like a sinker.

    "I've always said, if you get a ball that's scuffed and know how to use it, you can make it sing `The Star-Spangled Banner' on the way to the plate," Sorensen said. "It only takes a piece of sandpaper the size of a fingernail, and one quick rub against the ball in the right spot. You can make the ball sink or sail, depending on where you put the scuff."

    If the umpire comes out to check, the trick is to flick the sandpaper onto the ground and step on it. The Giants were convinced that Houston second baseman Billy Doran used to pick up Scott's sandpaper and hide it in his pocket when the pitcher was checked. Former Texas reliever Dale Mahorcic reportedly swallowed a piece of sandpaper as the umpire made his way to the mound.

    One of the more comical sights of recent years was Twins pitcher Joe Niekro throwing down an emery board and a piece of sandpaper when the umpires made him empty his pockets in 1987. He got a 10-day suspension out of it.

    Pitchers have been known to have accomplices. Yankee catcher Elston Howard was said to sharpen the buckles on his shin guard to scuff the ball for Ford and other Yankee pitchers. Sorensen refers to a Reds shortstop, presumably Dave Concepcion, who would scrape the ball on an eyelet in his glove while it was being thrown around the infield.

    Tiger Hall of Famer Al Kaline has heard of first basemen putting tacks in their gloves to scuff the ball after a pickoff attempt, and third basemen loading Vaseline in the palms of their gloves to do the pitcher's dirty work.

    Perry's method was supposedly to cover his Adam's apple with Vaseline, and apply the liquid while his glove was in front of his face, shielding the action. Kittle said he used to wait until the batter hit a pop fly, and while all eyes, including the umpires', were watching the flight of the ball, he'd spit into his glove for future application.

    "If I had false teeth when I was pitching like I do now, I'd have the greatest spitball ever," Kittle said. "That Fixadent is the slipperiest stuff ever invented. All you'd have to do is rub your teeth with your finger."

    The benefit of corking a bat is not from the substance itself, but from the effect of swinging a lighter bat. A 36-ounce bat with the whip of a 34-ouncer can greatly help a hitter, although how much is disputed.

    "The primary intention is to lighten the bat, which it does, but it also reduces the mass," said Chuck Schupp, manager of professional sales and promotions for Hillerich and Bradsby, which manufactures Louisville Slugger bats.

    "Mass is what helps drive the ball. We have done control tests on things like that, and found that for all the trouble they go to to do that, it doesn't really give you unbelievably different results."

    Schupp has heard of cork, foam and super balls being used to alter bats, but he said he sees little evidence that the practice is in vogue.

    "In all honesty, I don't see anyone talking about it or doing it this year," he said.

    The usual procedure for altering a bat is to drill a one-inch diameter hole about eight inches into the head of the bat, and then fill the space with cork shavings, compressed by a dowel. When the hole is covered and sanded, the alterations can be concealed with stain or felt marker.

    "Guys will half teasingly ask if they can get their bat with cork," Schupp said. "I tell them, `If you want that done, you've got to do that on your own.' "

    The groundskeeper can be a rich avenue of bending baseball rules by tailoring a field to benefit the home team. Emil Bossard, for instance, used to move back the portable fences at Cleveland's Stadium 12 to 15 feet when the powerful Yankees came to town.

    "There are 17 tricks of the trade, and I hate to say I'm third generation of the family that founded most of them," said his grandson, Roger Bossard, the White Sox groundskeeper.

    Bossard won't reveal all the 17 tricks, but some are legendary, such as wetting the infield to slow down teams with speed, tilting the baselines so that bunts roll fair or foul, and cutting infield grass short or high depending on how fast you want grounders to travel.

    "In 1971 or '72, when Chuck Tanner was our manager, we played Oakland during their dynasty," Bossard said. "Chuck said, `Make sure Billy North doesn't steal a base.' First time, Wilbur Wood walks North on four pitches. Everyone knows he's going to steal. He took a step and a half, but we had doctored the baseline, and he fell to his knees. Our catcher threw to first and tagged him out. Me and my dad had a big smile. But they still beat us by eight runs."

    The Bossards, however, went well beyond those standard techniques, with such methods as freezing baseballs to limit their carry when the White Sox had weak-hitting teams.

    "My dad (Gene Bossard) invented frozen baseballs in 1967," Bossard said. "He and Eddie Stanky (manager of the White Sox). We had three pitchers that year - Tommy John, Joel Horlen and Gary Peters - and that was our whole team. We had no offense.

    "In the bowels of the old stadium my dad had an old room where the humidifier was constantly going. By leaving the balls in that room for 10 to 14 days, they became a quarter to a half ounce heavier."

    Bossard calls it "tricks of the trade," rather than cheating. While Wills is the only person penalized for altering the batter's box, "I think the majority of teams probably hedge an inch or so for their clubs," he said. "I, of course, never do those things.

    "A groundskeeper literally doesn't go out and do this on his own. He talks to the manager or general manager, whoever deems it necessary.

    "Like the bases. Do people really know if the bases are 90 or 89 feet? I can tell you fabulous stories, earthshaking stories, about times the bases were 89 feet and what it's done for people . . . but I can't let that out."

    The Mariners' groundskeeper at Safeco Field, Steve Peeler, is a protege of Bossard's, and has been well-versed in the 17 tricks.

    "It's tricks of the trade until you get caught," Peeler said. "Then it's stupidity."

    Gaylord Perry would approve of that sentiment.

    -----------------------------------------------------------.

    CHEAT SHEET.

    THE RULES.

    3.02 No player shall intentionally discolor or damage the ball by rubbing it with soil, rosin, paraffin, licorice, sand-paper, emery-paper or other foreign substance.

    6.06 A batter is out for illegal action when ... he uses or attempts to use a bat that, in the umpire's judgement, has been altered or tampered with in such a way to improve the distance factor or cause an unusual reaction on the baseball. This includes, bats that are filled, flat-surfaced, nailed, hollowed, grooved or covered with a substance such as a paraffin, wax, etc.

    Source: Official Baseball Rules, 1998 edition

    ----------------------------------------------------------.

    Cheat sheet

    Here are baseball players who have been caught cheating:

    1999: Brian Moehler, Tigers, suspended 10 days for having a small piece of sandpaper glued to his left thumb.

    1997: Wilton Guerrero, Dodgers, suspended eight games and fined $1,000 for using a corked bat.

    1996: Chris Sabo, Reds, suspended seven days for using a corked bat.

    1994: Albert Belle, Indians, suspended seven days for using a corked bat.

    1988: Jay Howell, Dodgers, suspended for final two games of National League Championship Series for having pine tar on his glove during Game 3 of NLCS.

    1987: Billy Hatcher, Astros, suspended 10 games for using corked bat.

    1987: Joe Niekro, Twins, suspended 10 days after being caught with an emery board and sandpaper in his pocket.

    1987: Kevin Gross, Phillies, suspended 10 games for using sandpaper.

    1983: George Brett, Royals, has homer against Yankees nullified for coating bat with pine tar beyond the 18-inch limit prescribed in rule book. The decision is overturned upon appeal.

    1982: Gaylord Perry, Mariners, suspended 10 games for doctoring baseball.

    1981: Maury Wills, Mariners manager, suspended two games for altering size of batter's box.

    1980: Rick Honeycutt, Mariners, suspended 10 games for using thumbtack.

    1944: Nelson Potter, Browns, suspended 10 games for using spitball.

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    Beer is good!! George Anderson's Avatar
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    Re: Cheating and the game

    One of the best cheating rumors was in the 51' Playoffs the Giants had someone hidden in the scoreboard at the Polo Grounds . He was allegedly using binoculars to steal signs from the Dodger catcher.This was the game that Bobby Thompson hit his famous homerun.
    "Boys, I'm one of those umpires that misses 'em every once in a while so if it's close, you'd better hit it." Cal Hubbard

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    BobC, get a legit F.O.! Mario-Rijo's Avatar
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    Re: Cheating and the game

    All very fun to read, good stuff.
    "You can't let praise or criticism get to you. It's a weakness to get caught up in either one."

    --Woody Hayes

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    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Cheating and the game

    Quote Originally Posted by George Anderson View Post
    One of the best cheating rumors was in the 51' Playoffs the Giants had someone hidden in the scoreboard at the Polo Grounds . He was allegedly using binoculars to steal signs from the Dodger catcher.This was the game that Bobby Thompson hit his famous homerun.
    That's a true story, confirmed by the Giants, their business offices were out there in the OF.

    http://espn.go.com/classic/s/neyer_on%20_shot.html

    It's rare that somebody writes about baseball history and it hits the front pages. But two weeks ago, events nearly 50 years old did hit the front pages: first The Wall Street Journal, and then a few other great newspapers. The architect of all this? A talented, enterprising writer named Joshua Harris Prager, who turned some old, dusty rumors into a hard, cold fact: in the latter stages of the 1951 season, at the end of which they captured the National League pennant, the New York Giants employed a sophisticated system for stealing catcher's signs and relaying them to the batters.

    The sign stealing began on July 20. From that point through the end of the season, the Giants played 28 games at their home ballpark, the horseshoe-shaped Polo Grounds, and won 23 of them. Over the same span, they went 29-13 on the road.

    According to Prager, only about half the Giants hitters -- Bobby Thomson, among them -- did want the signs. If we figure 40 plate appearances per game, and half of those going to hitters getting the signs, we might (very roughly) estimate that approximately 560 plate appearances were conducted under questionable circumstances. That's a lot of plate appearances, and certainly leads to the question, "Does the sign stealing take anything away from the Giants' accomplishment?"

    Before answering that question, it's worth noting that sign stealing, above and beyond the garden-variety, baserunner-on-second-peering-between-catcher's-legs version, has a long tradition, going back at least a century.

    # In 1900, the Philadelphia Phillies went just 30-40 on the road, but played brilliantly at home, going 45-23 at Philadephia Park (later renamed Baker Bowl).

    As it turned out, the Phillies almost certainly employed an elaborate sign-stealing scheme, with the help of two part-time players.

    Utility man Petie "What's the Use" Chiles often coached third base, where (as researcher Joe Ditmarr reports) "he had an unusual twitch in his legs at times and often stood in one position, right in the middle of a perpetual wet spot, in the corner of the coach's box."

    Backup catcher Morgan Murphy rarely played, and when he wasn't in the lineup he was also absent from the bench and field area.

    On September 17, with the Cincinnati Reds in town for a doubleheader, Chiles and Murphy were exposed. According to Ditmarr,

    In the third inning of the first game, Tommy Corcoran, the Reds shortstop and captain, began frantically scratching with his spikes in the third base coaching area. Acting like a demonic chicken searching for grain ... Just below the surface Corcoran struck the lid of a small metal box. Opening the box exposed an "electric buzzer device" with protruding wires. It was thought that Chiles' cohort, Murphy, was stationed in the clubhouse behind the center field wall with some sort of pirate spyglass with which to steal the catcher's signs. Murphy, it was then assumed, would relay the information to Chiles' feet and he would verbally signal the batter as to whether the next pitch was to be a fastball or curve.

    Not much came of Corcoran's discovery. But 12 days later in Pittsburgh, the Cincinnati shortstop sniffed out another scheme, this time in Pittsburgh. It was reported that the Pirates and Phillies knew of each other's chicanery, and had even agreed to not spy on each other. Of course, there's little honor among thieves, so we can imagine that both clubs were on the lookout for truce violations.

    After the season, Philadelphia baseball writer Charles Dryden confirmed the details of the Phillies' sign-stealing scheme. Also after the season, Petie Chiles was arrested in Texas for involvement in a con-artist scheme and sentenced to two years of hard labor. In 1902, eight months before his scheduled release, Chiles escaped from custody. He was arrested for assault in 1903, reportedly played semi-pro baseball that same year, and that's the last we know of him. When and where he died remains a mystery.

    # In 1940, the Tigers edged the Indians by one game to capture the American League pennant, after a three-and-a-half-month duel. In the process, the Tigers beat Bob Feller -- who finished the season 27-11 and was generally considered the AL's best pitcher -- six times. There were rumors that the Tigers had sign-stealing spies in the center-field bleachers, and Feller echoed these rumors in 1990 when I asked him about it. "Yeah, they had a guy with binoculars out there," he said, "and he'd signal to the hitter what I was going to throw. Cost us the pennant."

    # In 2000, rumors abounded that the Blue Jays had rigged up a sign-stealing system in SkyDome. I asked two men very close to the team about this, and one of them snorted, "These guys? There aren't five of 'em smart enough to use a system if there was one."

    These incidents are just a small sampling. In his piece, Prager also mentioned schemes from the early 1960s (Milwaukee's County Stadium) and the 1980s (Chicago's old Comiskey Park), and of course there must have been many more attempts, if not successes.

    A few points about the Giants in 1951:

    # Everybody knows that after July 19, the Giants went 52-18 and surged to the National League pennant. And now everybody knows that, over that same span, they employed a sophisticated system for stealing signs. But how many people know how effective that system actually was?

    Dave Smith of Retrosheet has the game data for each game of the Giants' 1951 season, so he checked the "before and after" numbers. The results are, to say the least, surprising.

    Home OPS Road OPS
    Thru July 19 814 725
    After July 19 761 758

    Yes, the Giants actually hit worse at the Polo Grounds after they started cheating. As Smith points out, the real improvement came in their road hitting, and especially the pitching. Before July 19, the Giants pitchers posted a 3.47 ERA at home, 4.49 on the road. After July 19, they lowered those figures to 2.90 and 2.93. So the pitching improvement is the real story of the Giants' second-half comeback.

    Of course, this doesn't mean that stealing the signs didn't help them. Perhaps without cheating, their home OPS decline would have been more severe. And of course, had the Giants won just one fewer game, there would have been no pennant, because there would have been no playoff series with the Dodgers.

    So let's make no mistake -- the Giants did cheat. True, it wasn't until 1961 that a rule was instituted banning the use of mechanical devices for spying on the opposition, which means that manager Leo Durocher and the rest of the club didn't do anything violating the letter of the law.

    But the Giants cheated, and they knew it. I've got a lot of baseball books in my basement, and a fair number of them were written by men who knew what was going on in 1951.

    Giants center fielder Willie Mays has done a couple of autobiographies, including a fine 1966 book with Charles Einstein. There's no mention of sign stealing.

    Giants shortstop Alvin Dark dictated a book, "When in Doubt, Fire the Manager." Not only is there no mention of sign stealing, but Dark says of the Giants' comeback, "It couldn't be pinned to any precise moment, yet suddenly we were a different team."

    And then there's Leo Durocher. Understand, Durocher was not one to shy away from controversial statements. Spend just a few minutes leafing through Durocher's book -- the wonderful "Nice Guys Finish Last" -- and you'll read about Giants owner Horace Stoneham's alcoholism and Ernie Banks' single-minded devotion to his public image. Yet there's no mention of sign stealing in "Nice Guys Finish Last." In fact, Durocher claims that he told Thomson to expect a fastball, both on the first pitch (that Thomson took for a strike) and the second (that he hit over the fence).

    Giants right fielder Monte Irvin did a book in 1996 called "Nice Guys Finish First." There's no mention of sign stealing.

    Nearly every other Giant has been quoted in various books -- I've got one called "The Miracle at Coogan's Bluff," and another called "The Home Run Heard 'Round the World" -- and none of them includes a mention, an inkling, even the tiniest hint of any chicanery. Now, I certainly don't blame any of the Giants for failing to volunteer such information. After all, when finally confronted with pointed questions by Josh Prager, they all 'fessed up. But earlier, not one player wanted to be the one to spill the beans. Personally, I have no ill feelings for any of the Giants, any more than I have ill feelings for Gaylord Perry or Whitey Ford. Baseball's always been like Wall Street or tax time: It ain't cheatin' if you don't get caught.

    In answer to the question, "Does the sign stealing take anything away from the Giants' accomplishment?" I would direct you to the Giants themselves. Clearly, they believed that it did. Knowing that, you can decide for yourself.

    P.S. One thing bothered me about Josh Prager's article ... If the Giants won the National League pennant thanks to chicanery in 1951, then what about 1952? And '53 and '54 and '55 (Durocher was gone in '56)? Prager told me that according to Giants pitcher Al Corwin, they did not steal signs in 1952 (when they finished in second place, six games behind Brooklyn) or 1953 (fifth place), but they did cheat in 1954, when they won both the National League pennant and the World Series.

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    Beer is good!! George Anderson's Avatar
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    Re: Cheating and the game

    I wouldn't put it past Durocher if it was indeed his idea. His past is shady beyond a doubt.

    In fact I found this about Durocher that I didn't know about on Wilkipedia.

    Babe Ruth, whom Durocher disliked intensely after Ruth accused Leo of stealing his watch, nicknamed him "The All-American Out
    [
    "Boys, I'm one of those umpires that misses 'em every once in a while so if it's close, you'd better hit it." Cal Hubbard

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    Titanic Struggles Caveat Emperor's Avatar
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    Re: Cheating and the game

    Stories like these are what make me love baseball. Great find WOY, thanks for sharing.
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    Just The Big Picture macro's Avatar
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    Re: Cheating and the game

    Why wasn't Sammy Sosa suspended when he got caught in 2003?

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    Re: Cheating and the game

    Quote Originally Posted by macro View Post
    Why wasn't Sammy Sosa suspended when he got caught in 2003?

    I think he was but this article is from 1999.
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    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Cheating and the game

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip R View Post
    I think he was but this article is from 1999.
    eight game suspension and MLB checked 75 of his bats.

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    nothing more than a fan Always Red's Avatar
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    Re: Cheating and the game

    What type of cheating is acceptable to us? None? All? Whatever a player can get away with?

    PEDS are generally considered the worst form of cheating, so I think there will be little if any argument there.

    What about spitballs, or other foreign substance? Scratching the ball to make it dance? Stealing signals? Man in the scoreboard? The batter looking to see what signs the catcher is putting down (if said catcher sees him doing this, it usually results in a high, hard one)? Corking bats? You could go on and on...

    Where is the line drawn between verboten cheating that results in banishment from the game (PEDS, betting on the game), and the cheating that results in a wink and a laugh?

    Gaylord Perry made himself a Hall of Famer by cheating- giving himself an unfair advantage over hitters, outside the rules of the game. Most fans and media are OK with it. I'm looking for where that fine line is....if it even exists.
    Last edited by Always Red; 12-23-2008 at 12:58 PM.

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    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: Cheating and the game

    Quote Originally Posted by Always Red View Post
    Gaylord Perry made himself a Hall of Famer by cheating- giving himself an unfair advantage over hitters, outside the rules of the game. Most fans are OK with it. I'm looking for where that fine line is....

    It's a fair question. I think people are not bothered as much with pitchers cheating as they are with batters cheating. I think there are two reasons for that. The first being that for a long time now, batters have had the advantage over pitchers. People didn't come out to watch Babe Ruth catch fly balls. The fans' sense of justice is that throwing the occassional spitball or scuffball sort of balances things out.

    The second reason I believe is that when a pitcher throws a spitball or scuffball, it acts the same way as a splitter or forkball or sinker or even a good change up does. It doesn't disappear a foot before it reaches the plate and reappear in the catcher's glove. It doesn't have some magic solvent on it that makes wood bats miss it like in It Happens Every Spring. When a batter cheats, he's trying to do something he wouldn't normally be able to do - hit the ball harder/farther. That's a big reason people were so up in arms about steroids. The hitters were doing something unnatural with their bodies to make them more powerful. When you cork a bat you are doing something unnatural to it to get an advantage. Even if you throw a spitball or a scuffball, there's no guarantee - much like a sinker or splitter - that it's going to break how you want it. It's more human. And throwing a spitball isn't a means to success by itself. Not even relief pitchers are successful throwing only one pitch.
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  13. #12
    nothing more than a fan Always Red's Avatar
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    Re: Cheating and the game

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip R View Post
    The first being that for a long time now, batters have had the advantage over pitchers.
    Chip, how do batters have the advantage over pitchers, when 70% of the time he is failing in his work and heading back to the bench, unless he walks, gets a hit or reaches on an error.

    IMO, lowering the mound in 1969 from 15 to 10 inches gave more of an advantage to hitters than anything else.

    If the hitters know that pitchers are trying to cheat them (scuffing, lubing, etc) then it's only natural they respond in kind.

    I think it needs to be evenly enforced, across the board, rather than letting pitchers get away with more cheating. The men charged with running this game need to either crack down severely on all forms of cheating, or just let it all go, creating an even playing field for every cheater. Anything else is just confusing.

    Gaylord Perry was an especially good cheater. He was only finally caught doctoring the ball in his 40's, and admitted to his cheating PRIOR to his eventual election into the Hall. His admission probably cost him earlier entrance into the Hall- he made it on his 3rd try.

    Perry is also on record as saying the steroid guys also will get in someday.

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  14. #13
    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: Cheating and the game

    Quote Originally Posted by Always Red View Post
    Chip, how do batters have the advantage over pitchers, when 70% of the time he is failing in his work and heading back to the bench, unless he walks, gets a hit or reaches on an error.

    IMO, lowering the mound in 1969 from 15 to 10 inches gave more of an advantage to hitters than anything else.

    If the hitters know that pitchers are trying to cheat them (scuffing, lubing, etc) then it's only natural they respond in kind.

    I think it needs to be evenly enforced, across the board, rather than letting pitchers get away with more cheating. The men charged with running this game need to either crack down severely on all forms of cheating, or just let it all go, creating an even playing field for every cheater. Anything else is just confusing.

    Gaylord Perry was an especially good cheater. He was only finally caught doctoring the ball in his 40's, and admitted to his cheating PRIOR to his eventual election into the Hall. His admission probably cost him earlier entrance into the Hall- he made it on his 3rd try.

    Perry is also on record as saying the steroid guys also will get in someday.

    http://www.boston.com/sports/basebal..._to_the_chase/

    Perhaps saying batters have the advantage is incorrect. However, baseball has tried to tip the balance of power towards the pitchers - especially over the last generation.

    I believe there's a big difference between a pitcher doctoring a ball and a batter corking his bat.
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  15. #14
    Little Reds BandWagon Reds Nd2's Avatar
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    Re: Cheating and the game

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip R View Post
    That's a big reason people were so up in arms about steroids. The hitters were doing something unnatural with their bodies to make them more powerful.
    Isn't the list of players suspended for steroids, while on a Major League roster, pretty evenly split between pitchers and hitters though?
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  16. #15
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    Re: Cheating and the game

    Quote Originally Posted by Always Red View Post
    What type of cheating is acceptable to us? None? All? Whatever a player can get away with?
    I think when you really dig down deep into it, it's a pretty clear answer: Health and PR

    Shooting yourself up in the rear end with PEDs and scuffing a baseball are both forms of cheating. The problem is the average person laughs when a pitcher scuffs a ball or a hitter corks a bat. That same average person then cries out in horror if a player cheats in a way that harms his own body and/or creates an unhealthy precedent for kids.
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