At the recent SABR Day meeting in Detroit on February 5th, chapter chair Gary Gillette was called on to pinch hit with a last minute presentation on cheating in baseball through the years.  Below is the quiz that accompanied the presentation.  Answers at the bottom!

“There’s No Cheating in Baseball” Quiz
By Gary Gillette

1. Which phrases do you believe describe cheating in baseball historically?

a. “Cheating in sports is as old as sports.”
b. “It ain’t cheating if you don’t get caught”
c. “If you aren’t cheating, you aren’t trying”
d. “Everyone cheats”

2. Which World Series, aside from 2017 and 2018, have been tainted by allegations of cheating by
game-fixing or sign-stealing?

a. 1886 between the NL White Stockings and AA Browns
b. 1912 between the Red Sox and the Giants
c. 1919 between the White Sox and the Reds
d. 1940 between the Tigers and Reds
e. 1948 between the Indians and the Braves
f. 1951 between the Giants and Yankees
g. 1954 between the Giants and Indians
h. 1959 between the White Sox and Dodgers
i. 1961 between the Reds and Yankees
j. 2008 between the Phillies and Rays
3. What was the earliest reported instance of illicit sign-stealing in the big leagues?
a. 1876 in the National Association
b. 1900 in the National League
c. 1919 in the American League

4. When did former Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca first learn that Bobby Thomson’s “Shot Heard
‘Round the World” was aided by illegal sign-stealing?

a. In 1953, when Branca was with the Tigers and heard about it from teammate Ted Gray.
b. In 2001, when the Wall Street Journal published an expose by Joshua Praeger.
c. In 2010, when Thomson made a confession on his deathbed.

5. Who was New York’s third-string catcher in 1951 who normally signaled the pitch type to the
batter from the Giants’ bullpen?

a. Wes Westrum
b. Ray Noble
c. Sal Yvars
6. Which of these Tigers Hall of Fame hitters reportedly took advantage of sign-stealing schemes?
a. George Kell
b. Hank Greenberg
c. Al Kaline
7. Which of these Tigers’ pitchers reportedly enhanced their chances by doctoring the ball?
a. Mickey Lolich
b. Hal Newhouser
c. Denny McLain
d. Earl Wilson
e. Tommy Bridges
f. Jim Bunning
g. Pat Dobson
h. Woody Fryman
i. Frank Lary
j. Joe Niekro
k. Orlando Pena
l. Phil Regan
m. Virgil Trucks
n. Carl Willis
o. Steve Gromek
p. Justin Verlander

8. Which Hall of Fame pitchers have admitted to using illegal pitches or have credibly been
reported to have employed illegal pitches?

a. Don Drysdale
b. Nolan Ryan
c. Bob Gibson
d. Don Sutton
e. Phil Niekro
f. Whitey Ford
g. Gaylord Perry
h. Early Wynn
i. Ted Lyons
j. Lefty Gomez
k. Bob Lemon
l. Jim Bunning
m. Ed Walsh

9. Which famous team mascot was once accused of stealing signs?

a. Bernie Brewer
b. The San Diego Chicken
c. The Philly Phanatic
d. The Tigers’ Paws

10. Which major league did not ban spitballs and doctored pitches in 1920?

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VERSION WITH ANSWERS BELOW!

1. Which phrases do you believe describe cheating in baseball historically?
a. “Cheating in sports is as old as sports.”
b. “It ain’t cheating if you don’t get caught”
c. “If you aren’t cheating, you aren’t trying”
d. “Everyone cheats”
ANSWER: The first three answers are quotations; the last seems to sum up the general
attitude. Take your pick of any or all.

2. Which World Series, aside from 2017 and 2018, have been tainted by allegations of cheating by
game-fixing or sign-stealing?
a. 1886 between the NL White Stockings and AA Browns
b. 1912 between the Red Sox and the Giants
c. 1919 between the White Sox and the Reds
d. 1940 between the Tigers and Reds
e. 1948 between the Indians and the Braves
f. 1951 between the Giants and Yankees
g. 1954 between the Giants and Indians
h. 1959 between the White Sox and Dodgers
i. 1961 between the Reds and Yankees
j. 2008 between the Phillies and Rays
ANSWER. All of the above. Just like in the 1919 Black Sox scandal, the 1886 and 1912
World Series were marred by allegations of game-fixing. The seven World Series listed
from 1940 to 2008 all involved allegations of sign-stealing or involved teams who were
credibly reported to be engaging in sign-stealing during that season.

3. What was the earliest reported instance of illicit sign-stealing in the big leagues?
a. 1876 in the National Association
b. 1900 in the National League
c. 1919 in the American League
ANSWER: In a 1962 piece in the Sporting News, sportswriter Dan Daniel asserted that
he had researched sign-stealing all the way back to the National League’s inaugural
season of 1876, when the Hartford Dark Blues NL supposedly signaled pitches to their
batters from a telegraph pole beyond the outfield fence.

4. When did former Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca first learn that Bobby Thomson’s “Shot Heard
‘Round the World” was aided by illegal sign-stealing?
a. In 1953, when Branca was with the Tigers and heard about it from teammate Ted Gray.
b. In 2001, when the Wall Street Journal published an expose by Joshua Praeger.
c. In 2010, when Thomson made a confession on his deathbed.
ANSWER. Gray reportedly heard about the Giants’ sign-stealing operation from a
friend who had played on the Giants. Thomson never confessed to taking the signs
after Praeger’s piece was published.

5. Who was New York’s third-string catcher in 1951 who normally signaled the pitch type to the
batter from the Giants’ bullpen?
a. Wes Westrum
b. Ray Noble
c. Sal Yvars
ANSWER. Sal Yvars. Westrum was New York’s starting catcher in ‘51; Noble was the
Giants’ 2nd-string receiver. Yvars spent most of his time in the bullpen, which is where
he signaled the pitch type to the Giants’ batters at the Polo Grounds.

6. Which of these Tigers Hall of Fame hitters reportedly took advantage of sign-stealing schemes?
a. George Kell
b. Hank Greenberg
c. Al Kaline
ANSWER. Kell benefitted from sign-stealing schemes when he played in Boston in
1952–54, and he reportedly persuaded the White Sox to start a similar operation
when he was traded to Chicago in ‘54. Greenberg has been quoted as saying he was
“’the greatest hitter in the world’ when he knew what was coming.” Kaline reportedly
did not want to know what pitch was coming, a sentiment shared by many other
hitters for various reasons.

7. Which of these Tigers’ pitchers reportedly enhanced their chances by doctoring the ball?
a. Mickey Lolich
b. Hal Newhouser
c. Denny McLain
d. Earl Wilson
e. Tommy Bridges
f. Jim Bunning
g. Pat Dobson
h. Woody Fryman
i. Frank Lary
j. Joe Niekro
k. Orlando Pena
l. Phil Regan
m. Virgil Trucks
n. Carl Willis
o. Steve Gromek
p. Justin Verlander
ANSWER: All the above pitchers either admitted to cheating or have been reliably
accused of cheating except Mickey Lolich and Justin Verlander.

8. Which Hall of Fame pitchers have admitted to using illegal pitches or have credibly been
reported to have employed illegal pitches?
a. Don Drysdale
b. Nolan Ryan
c. Bob Gibson
d. Don Sutton
e. Phil Niekro
f. Whitey Ford
g. Gaylord Perry
h. Early Wynn
i. Ted Lyons
j. Lefty Gomez
k. Bob Lemon
l. Jim Bunning
m. Ed Walsh
ANSWER: All the above pitchers either admitted to cheating or have been reliably
accused of cheating except Ed Walsh, who liberally doctored the ball. However,
Walsh’s career antedated the 1920 rule change that made such handiwork illegal.

9. Which famous team mascot was once accused of stealing signs?
a. Bernie Brewer
b. The San Diego Chicken
c. The Philly Phanatic
d. The Tigers’ Paws
ANSWER: Bernie Brewer. The Philly Phanatic has been accused of many unseemly
things, but not of stealing signs.

10. Which major league did not ban spitballs and doctored pitches in 1920?
ANSWER: The Negro National League, which was founded in 1920. [This was a trick
question based on my belief that the major Negro Leagues were, in fact, major
leagues in the fullest sense of the word.]