Before there was Mike Fiers there were whistleblowers named Al Worthington, Bob Shaw and Jay Hook—all of them pitchers. Before there was a trash can there were curtains, buzzers, weathervanes, peach nectar cans, scorecards and mascots.
Throughout baseball history players have stolen signs through illicit means and found creative ways to signal them to hitters. It only took 120 years for someone to actually do something about it.
After a three-month investigation into sign stealing by the 2017-18 Houston Astros, commissioner Rob Manfred last week fined the Astros $5 million, took away four draft picks and suspended for the season manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow, both of whom were subsequently fired. Managers Alex Cora of the Red Sox and Carlos Beltrán of the Mets also lost their jobs because of their roles with the Astros in 2017.
With that ruling Manfred ended what he called baseball’s “thin soup” when it came to penalizing illicit sign stealing. Manfred stepped up where no commissioner did before because he warned teams twice to knock it off, because MLB itself put the temptation of live video in front of players when it adopted a challenge-based…