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The 1951 Playoffs....did WE really lose?

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  • The 1951 Playoffs....did WE really lose?

    While WE have discussed OUR loss in the infamous 1951 Playoffs against the hated NY Giants, I thought it might be a topic worth revisting since WE have several new "regulars" on OUR Forum.

    The question still remains....did WE lose (fair and square), OR was the game unfairly stolen from US? For years there were all kinds of rumors about what actually went on "behind the scene". Here's the story...

    On March 22, 1962 (44 years ago today), a former Giant (who has since been identified as probably catcher, Sal Yvars), revealed that Bobby Thomson's game winning HR against Ralph Branca was helped by a "sign-stealing" clubhouse spy. Keep in mind exactly where the clubhouses were located in the Polo Grounds (centerfield). The spying was claimed to have gone on for the last three months of the 1951 season. Bobby Thomson, and former Manager Leo Durocher, vehemently denied that any "help" was received.

    What do YOU think?

    c.

  • #2
    Leo?

    Originally posted by DODGER DEB
    While WE have discussed OUR loss in the infamous 1951 Playoffs against the hated NY Giants, I thought it might be a topic worth revisting since WE have several new "regulars" on OUR Forum.

    The question still remains....did WE lose (fair and square), OR was the game unfairly stolen from US? For years there were all kinds of rumors about what actually went on "behind the scene". Here's the story...

    On March 22, 1962 (44 years ago today), a former Giant (who has since been identified as probably catcher, Sal Yvars), revealed that Bobby Thomson's game winning HR against Ralph Branca was helped by a "sign-stealing" clubhouse spy. Keep in mind exactly where the clubhouses were located in the Polo Grounds (centerfield). The spying was claimed to have gone on for the last three months of the 1951 season. Bobby Thomson, and former Manager Leo Durocher, vehemently denied that any "help" was received.

    What do YOU think?

    c.
    Leo Durocher is said to have stolen Babe Ruth's watch and another man's wife (Laraine Day). Is anyone really shocked? Brownie31

    Comment


    • #3
      I think it's one thing for a baserunner to try to pick up the catcher's signs and well within the spirit of the game. Posting a spy with a telescope in the centerfield clubhouse is another thing altogether. That unfair advantage was surely the margin of victory for the Giants in more than one game down the stretch. The loss of a single one of those games would have resulted in a less than miraculous finish for the Giants. There would have been no playoff, and the Dodgers would have won the pennant.
      Last edited by zman; 03-22-2006, 04:05 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Of course, the Bums lost. Check any record book. You might think the Giants had some unethical help, but that's how it goes.
        Buck O'Neil: The Monarch of Baseball

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by KCGHOST
          Of course, the Bums lost. Check any record book. You might think the Giants had some unethical help, but that's how it goes.
          No one questions the fact that the Giants won the pennant. The question is did they do it in an ethical fashion? THe Dodgers were not alone in their charges. Just about every team in the league charged the Giants with cheating during the 1951 season. Just about everyone would agree Leo would do anything, legal or otherwise to win.
          Lets get Eddie Basinski elected to the Polish Sports Hall of Fame.
          www.brooklyndodgermemories.com

          Comment


          • #6
            The 1951 Playoffs....did WE really lose?

            Here is a good article on the cheating by the Giants to rob the 1951 pennant from us. It says in the article they had a guy with binoculars in the scoreboard who relayed the catcher's sign to the Giants right field bullpen who then relayed it to hitter. How would they have time for all of that if it only takes a few seconds from the time the catcher gives the signal until the pitcher delivers, if they did do it it would come direct from the scoreboard to the hitter and they would have had to still be fast in doing it.
            Here's the article.

            http://www.all-baseball.com/archives/021001.html
            Lets support Gil Hodges for The Hall of Fame, a true Hall of Famer.

            Comment


            • #7
              The 1951 Playoffs....did WE really lose?

              Here's another good article about Henry Schenz and how he came to the Giants on June 30, 1951. He never had an at bat with the Giants but they took off on their 37-7 spurt after he arrived.

              http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/c...big0709np1.asp
              Lets support Gil Hodges for The Hall of Fame, a true Hall of Famer.

              Comment


              • #8
                The Dodgers kicked their butts the day before so I don't see how the sign stealing worked for the Giants then. You still have to hit the ball even if you know what is coming.
                There have been studies done about this and from what I've seen there isn't anything to show the Giants benefited from the sign stealing. Their pitchers did more at home to help them then the hitters.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by tonypug
                  No one questions the fact that the Giants won the pennant. The question is did they do it in an ethical fashion? THe Dodgers were not alone in their charges. Just about every team in the league charged the Giants with cheating during the 1951 season. Just about everyone would agree Leo would do anything, legal or otherwise to win.
                  From "The Babe and I" by Mrs. Babe Ruth with Bill Corum: "It was the Babe's feeling that deft shortstop play was the sum total of Leo's civilized conduct." Brownie31

                  Comment


                  • #10


                    "Some, like Franks, deny that the Giants ever stole signs. Other players are more forthcoming. "Herman would sit in the clubhouse," says Monte Irvin. "He's sitting there with a telescope, and he'd relay it to the bullpen." Adds Salvadore Yvars, a backup catcher on the 1951 Giants, now 76: "He knew how to get the signs. Catchers know what the hell they're doing."

                    The diagram and quote are from the following article which describes in detail how and by whom it was done... http://www.baseball-statistics.com/G...son-Branca.htm
                    Last edited by zman; 03-22-2006, 04:10 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Paulmcall
                      The Dodgers kicked their butts the day before so I don't see how the sign stealing worked for the Giants then. You still have to hit the ball even if you know what is coming.
                      There have been studies done about this and from what I've seen there isn't anything to show the Giants benefited from the sign stealing. Their pitchers did more at home to help them then the hitters.
                      Yes you still have to hit the ball,but if a good hitter knows a fast ball is coming, he sits on it, and it generally gets hit well.
                      Lets get Eddie Basinski elected to the Polish Sports Hall of Fame.
                      www.brooklyndodgermemories.com

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Paulmcall
                        The Dodgers kicked their butts the day before so I don't see how the sign stealing worked for the Giants then. You still have to hit the ball even if you know what is coming.
                        There have been studies done about this and from what I've seen there isn't anything to show the Giants benefited from the sign stealing. Their pitchers did more at home to help them then the hitters.
                        "Dave Smith of Retrosheet has the game data for each game of the Giants' 1951 season, so he checked the "before and after" numbers. The results are, to say the least, surprising.

                        .......... Home OPS / Road OPS

                        Thru July 19 - 814 / 725
                        After July 19 - 761 / 758


                        Yes, the Giants actually hit worse at the Polo Grounds after they started cheating. As Smith points out, the real improvement came in their road hitting, and especially the pitching. Before July 19, the Giants pitchers posted a 3.47 ERA at home, 4.49 on the road. After July 19, they lowered those figures to 2.90 and 2.93. So the pitching improvement is the real story of the Giants' second-half comeback.

                        "Of course, this doesn't mean that stealing the signs didn't help them. Perhaps without cheating, their home OPS decline would have been more severe. And of course, had the Giants won just one fewer game, there would have been no pennant, because there would have been no playoff series with the Dodgers."

                        http://espn.go.com/mlb/s/2001/0206/1066094.html

                        It's true that even if a batter knows what pitch is coming he still has to hit it. Some players have even said they prefer not knowing. Thomson admitted to sometimes using the signs during the season but denied that he used them when he hit the "Shot." I think their are two crucial questions...

                        1. Was Thomson's "Shot Heard 'Round the World" aided by the sign stealing? I don't know and I would like to think the answer is no.


                        2. Did sign stealing during the regular season enable the Giants to catch up to the Dodgers and force a playoff? I think the answer is almost certainly yes. Just one less win by the Giants and there would have been no playoff.
                        Last edited by zman; 03-22-2006, 06:33 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Just one less win by the Giants and there would have been no playoff.
                          One more win by the Brooks would've avoided the playoff also. C'mon, guys, they blew a 13 game lead, went 6-7 in the last two weeks of the season, and then lost the playoff series opener at Ebbets. All the Dodgers had to do was play .500 ball to hang on to the pennant and they couldn't do it. They collapsed.

                          Good hitters know the situation and usually know what pitch to expect. Whether they've got a sign or a not, they still have to guess location and catch up to the pitch. Branca never had an overpowering fastball and Thomson hit Branca well, so Branca never should've been pitching to Thomson in that situation in the first place.

                          You could say the Giants won the pennant or the Dodgers lost the pennant, but I don't think it's at all fair to say it was stolen away.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by callingit
                            One more win by the Brooks would've avoided the playoff also. C'mon, guys, they blew a 13 game lead, went 6-7 in the last two weeks of the season, and then lost the playoff series opener at Ebbets. All the Dodgers had to do was play .500 ball to hang on to the pennant and they couldn't do it. They collapsed.

                            Good hitters know the situation and usually know what pitch to expect. Whether they've got a sign or a not, they still have to guess location and catch up to the pitch. Branca never had an overpowering fastball and Thomson hit Branca well, so Branca never should've been pitching to Thomson in that situation in the first place.

                            You could say the Giants won the pennant or the Dodgers lost the pennant, but I don't think it's at all fair to say it was stolen away.
                            You are so right we shouldn't have been in a playoff with the Giants, we blew such a big lead, but also since we were there in a playoff Branca shouldn't have been anywhere near the mound. Lets face it Charlie Dressen wasn't that good a manager he just had the horses and they won most of the time despite him but in the 3rd game of that playoff he killed us by bringing Branca in. That year Branca was killed by the Giants over and over, any sane manager would have brought in Erskine who bullpen coach Clyde Sukeforth didn't think looked as good as Branca. I wonder what Clyde Sukeforth thought after a few pitches to Bobby Thomson.
                            Lets support Gil Hodges for The Hall of Fame, a true Hall of Famer.

                            Comment

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