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MLB: Former Giant Reveals Spy System in '51 and '59

Mar. 22, 1962 - A former member of the New York Giants revealed today that Bobby Thomson’s dramatic pennant-winning homer (pictured) in the 1951 National League playoff with the Brooklyn Dodgers was helped by a sign-stealing clubhouse spy. The player, who requested anonymity, now is with another major league team. He said the Giants also used the spy system in 1959, the year the Dodgers beat them out of the pennant in the last week of the season. In 1951, a utility player was the cloak-and-dagger operator. In 1959, the sign stealer was a former Giant coach. Both operated from center field in the home park, picking off signs with binoculars. In 1951, the informant said, the Giants used the spy system during the last three months of the season. The team won 36 of its last 45 games to overcome a 13.5-game Dodger lead. “The Giants had an electrician install a wire leading from the center field clubhouse to the dugout,” the informant said. “The wire had a button on the center-field end and a buzzer on the other end. The fellow pressed the button once for a fastball and twice for a breaking pitch. The guy on the bench relayed the signal to the batter.” “We used a simpler method in 1959,” the player said. “The fellow worked from the scoreboard. He kept two slats open. When the pitch was to be a fastball, he closed the right slat. For a curve, he closed the left one. We were going to use it against the Dodgers, but one of the players, who was deeply religious, went to the manager and said he would ‘spill the works’ unless we stopped it.”

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