Never steal the catcher signs. - Baseball


It is particularly taboo for the batter to peek at the catcher's signs from the batter's box. Stealing signs from second base is considered gamesmanship but still requires retribution. -- Seattle Post-Intelligencer


Palmer: "I was pitching one night against Jim Spencer, and he used to live in Baltimore. He played basketball with us in the offseason, and he was a friend of mine. [Catcher] Rick Dempsey came out to the mound and said, 'Spencer is looking back at the signs.' So I walked off the mound and said, 'If you do that again, I'll hit you in the side of the head.' I threw the next ball right down the middle and he took it for Strike 3."

Blyleven: "That's a no-no. I don't think too many players peek back at the catcher. If they're caught, it's up to that pitcher or catcher to say something. 'If you do it again, there's going to be repercussions.'

"Ted Simmons and I had words one time in Milwaukee when he was at second base. I came into my stretch position and turned around real quick, and he was staring right in giving the signs. I stepped off and we had some words. I had an incident with Paul Molitor where I thought he was peeking [at the catcher], and I settled it right there."

Gossage: "If we thought hitters were getting signs relayed signs from second base, we would call a breaking ball, and then I'd throw a fastball up and in. That stopped it right then. It was over. They were done."   -- Jerry Crasnick


Two weeks ago, Kansas City’s Brayan Pena was chewed out by Houston catcher Ivan Rodriguez, who thought that Pena was peeking at signs and location from the batter’s box. Again, that is a no-no according to the unwritten rules of baseball. Pena hit his first home run of the season later in the at-bat.  -- Fred Bierman


And Roger Maris' history-making season in 1961 was achieved with the help of another Code quirk — its tolerance of stealing pitcher’s signs, which is just a normal part of the game according to the Code. When Maris stepped to the plate to take a swing at a record-breaking 61 home runs, a whistle from the third base coach let him know that a fastball was on the way. 

Cleveland Hall of Famer Bob Feller brought a military-grade gun sight back from World War II. After an August slump, the team used it to set up a spy station in their scoreboard that led them to a 19-5 resurgence, and the 1948 World Series championship.

Teams have used fake TV cameras in the outfield, flashing lights in their scoreboards, and even buzzers wired from the bullpen to the clubhouse, as Bobby Thomson's '51 New York Giants did in going 20-5 en route to his infamous "Shot Heard 'Round the World" playoff homer.

But the one method of sign stealing that is unacceptable is for a batter to peek at the catcher while he gives the signs. When Royals outfielder Al Cowens was caught doing just that in 1979, the Texas battery responded with a fake outside pitch call that actually came up and in, breaking Cowens' jaw. -- Larry Getlen