Editor's note: Twice a week during this sports hiatus, we'll answer questions that Bay Area sports fans long have debated in "Ever Wonder?" This installment: What’s the story behind the Giants ' sign-stealing scandal in 1951?
Before the Houston Astros’ recent sign-stealing scandal, the New York Giants knew a thing or two about stealing signs. And just like the Astros, they allegedly did it during a playoff run.
During the 1951 season that included the iconic “Shot ‘Round the World” call, there were rumors that team was stealing signs via a buzzer wire connected to the telephones in the Giants dugout.
Baseball historian David Feldman detailed how sign-stealing was all the rage back then, and it wasn’t forbidden -- or illegal -- at the time.
What the Giants allegedly would do was use a telescope or binoculars in the clubhouse behind center field and steal the catcher’s signs. That person would relay to the sign to the bullpen, who would then relay the sign to the hitter.
So, did Bobby Thomson know what pitch was coming from Brooklyn Dodgers hurler Ralph Branca when he hit the iconic walk-off home run to win the pennant?
However, Thomson mentioned he didn’t take the sign, as he was concentrating on a big moment to have the Giants win the NL pennant and head to the World Series.
Perhaps we’ll never know.
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