Synopses & Reviews
Ever see Mike Piazza block the plate? Or Derek Jeter slide hard into second? Illegal. But it happens every game. Baseball's rules, it seems, were made to be broken. And they are, by the players, the front office, and even sometimes the fans. Like it or not, cheating has been an integral part of America's favorite pastime since its inception. The Cheater's Guide to Baseball
will show you how cheating is really done. In this lively tour through baseball's underhanded history, readers will learn how to cork a bat, steal signs, hurl a spitball, throw a World Series, and win at any cost!
They'll also see the dirty little secrets of the game's greatest manipulators: John McGraw and Ty Cobb; Billy Martin and Gaylord Perry; Graig Nettles and Sammy Sosa; and, yes, even Barry Bonds.
They'll find out how the Cleveland Indians doctored their basepaths to give new meaning to the term home field advantage. They'll delight in a hilarious examination of the Black Sox scandal, baseball's original sin. And, in the end, they'll come to understand that cheating is as much a part of baseball as pine tar and pinch hitters. And it's here to stay.
"Baseball blogger Zumsteg (ussmariner.com) argues that cheating-within reason-is not only not a bad thing, it actually makes baseball a more nuanced game. Using a wealth of anecdotal evidence and some statistical analysis, he argues that baseball has evolved hand-in-hand with the aid of its scoundrels, scamps, and shifty characters-and that doctoring the ball or stealing signs necessitates teams, umpires and even fans adopt more complex strategy. Zumsteg draws the line at gambling, game fixing and steroid use, showing little sympathy for the Black Sox and even less for Pete Rose. While baseball aficionados will be familiar with many of Zumsteg's stories, his wit will keep most casual fans entertained. Whether he's describing what might happen in a car crash with Pete Rose ('I admitted that I hit your car ... Can't we stop this witch-hunt and get on with our lives?') or laying blame for the steroid era on everyone from the commissioner to the fans, Zumsteg dispenses with the sanctimoniousness of most current sports writing. Although his prose style and humor are sometimes better suited to the Web (a few lengthy asides come across as amateurish), Zumsteg still creates a funny, honest look at the history of baseball's black arts." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Derek Zumsteg's The Cheater's Guide to Baseball is an irreverent history of (and instructional guide to) spitballing, bat corking, sign stealing, and other practices that 'made baseball into what it is today'....A stand-up double. (Grade: B)" Entertainment Weekly
"[A] lively and challenging account of cheating as part of America's pastime, whether it's the habits of particular notables, such as Gaylord Perry and his spitball, or modern day pharmaceutical legerdemain." Library Journal
Since its inception, it seems that baseball's rules were made to be broken. In this lively tour through baseball's underhanded history, readers will learn how to cork a bat, steal signs, hurl a spitball, throw a World Series, and win at any cost.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Toward a Philosophy of Cheating ix
PART I CHEATING FOR BEGINNERS 1 The Underhanded but Not Illegal John McGraw and his 1890s Orioles 3 Home field advantages: Groundskeeping 14 Cracking codes and baseballand#8217;s Midways: Stealing signs 29 Arguing with umps 49 Delaying the game for fun and profit 56 The exotic bird of cheating: The hidden ball trick 63 Billy Martin, a cheaterand#8217;s cheater 69 Heckling, fan participation, and riots 82
PA R T II THE ILLEGAL BUT CUTE 111 Itand#8217;s not how you swing the bat, itand#8217;s what youand#8217;ve stuffed inside 113 Doctoring the ball 134 Gaylord Perry: Greatest cheater ever 164
PA R T III THROWN OFF THE VARSITY TEAM 169 Gambling and game-fixing: The good old days 171 The worst thing ever to happen to baseball: The Black Sox scandal 182 Pete Rose: The only undeterred gambler 206 Steroids: Blame enough to go around 214
PART IV CHEATING OUR WAY INTO THE SUNSET 241
Acknowledgments 245 Notes 247 Index 254