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This day in Phillies history, Phillies accused by Reds of stealing signs

Remember a few years ago when the Philadelphia Phillies were being accused of stealing signs? You remember bullpen coach Mick Billmeyer using binoculars and being accused of using them to steal signs against their opponents. Well, if you dig through the history of the franchise you will know that being accused of stealing signs is certainly nothing new for the Phillies, who were accused of this violation of the baseball code by the Cincinnati Reds on this date in 1900.

From Page-A-Day Calendar:

Reds shortstop Tommy Corcoran uncovers an elaborate sign-stealing apparatus during a game against the Phillies at Baker Bowl in Philadelphia. Corcoran is coaching at third base when his spikes catch a wire in the coach’s box. He digs the wire out of the dirt, gives a yank, and several yards of cable come out of the ground. Corcoran keeps tugging, and traces the wire across right field to the Phillies’ clubhouse, where reserve catcher Morgan Murphy sits with a telegraph instrument beside an open window.

Morgan had been spying on opposing catchers from his observation post with binoculars and relayed the signals, via wire, to a buzzer located in the dirt under the third base coaching box. By keeping his foot on the buzzer, the coach received signals which indicated whether the pitch would be a fastball or a curve, and this information was relayed to the batter by hand signals. The Reds lose a doubleheader to the Phillies on this day, 4–2 and 4–1.

All I know is this. If the Phillies could have gotten away with stealing some signs in Houston this weekend, the playoff hopes may have been a little better this morning.

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