MLB: Don’t hold your breath for the ’17 or ’18 World Series being vacated

HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 02: Houston Astros display a 2017 World Series Championship banner fduring pre-game ceremonies on Opening Day at Minute Maid Park on April 2, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 02: Houston Astros display a 2017 World Series Championship banner fduring pre-game ceremonies on Opening Day at Minute Maid Park on April 2, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Robert Riger/Getty Images)
(Photo by Robert Riger/Getty Images) /

The 1961 Reds—Theirs was a kind of miracle pennant. And the miracle’s curtain was pulled back by spare pitcher Jay Hook, who didn’t appear in the ’61 Series against the Yankees. Hook jolted spring training 1962, by which time he’d become an expansion Original Met, when he said in a United Press International story that those Reds had spies in the Crosley Field walk-in scoreboard, stealing signs with binoculars and phoning them to the Reds dugout.

Former Reds pitcher turned scout Brooks Lawrence rejected Hook’s charge, claiming it was impossible to see inside the scoreboard, where Lawrence admitted sneaking in for an in-game smoke. But New York Post sportswriter Leonard Shecter, later known as Jim Bouton‘s editor for Ball Four, said a hitter accepting stolen signs to know what’s coming compared to “the driver who knocks down an 89-year-old pedestrian. It’s easy but unsporting.”

Nobody since has demanded the National League’s 1961 pennant be awarded to the second-place Dodgers, either.

(Victims in 1951, 1961, 2017, and 2018. Are you getting the idea that the Dodgers—winners of only one World Series in their Brooklyn years, who haven’t won a World Series otherwise since the Reagan Administration—might be among the biggest schlemazels in baseball?)