Stolen away: Brooklyn pitcher recalls '51 sign-stealing scam

FILE - In this October 1952 file photo, Brooklyn Dodgers' Carl Erskine pitches against the New York Yankees in Game 5 of the baseball World Series in New York. Up by 13 1/2 games in mid-August in 1951, Jackie Robinson and the Dodgers seemed destined. That was until rookie Willie Mays and the New York Giants came flying back, fueled by an incredible, late run in home games at the Polo Grounds, and forced a best-of-three playoff for the National League pennant. Erskine was warming up in the Brooklyn bullpen in Game 3 when Bobby Thomson connected for the famed "Shot Heard 'Round the World," a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth off Ralph Branca that rallied the Giants to a 5-4 win. A half-century later, a giant secret was revealed: The Giants had rigged a spyglass-and-buzzer system in late July to steal catchers' signals and tip off their hitters. (AP Photo, File)
FILE - In this October 1952 file photo, Brooklyn Dodgers' Carl Erskine pitches against the New York Yankees in Game 5 of the baseball World Series in New York. Up by 13 1/2 games in mid-August in 1951, Jackie Robinson and the Dodgers seemed destined. That was until rookie Willie Mays and the New York Giants came flying back, fueled by an incredible, late run in home games at the Polo Grounds, and forced a best-of-three playoff for the National League pennant. Erskine was warming up in the Brooklyn bullpen in Game 3 when Bobby Thomson connected for the famed "Shot Heard 'Round the World," a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth off Ralph Branca that rallied the Giants to a 5-4 win. A half-century later, a giant secret was revealed: The Giants had rigged a spyglass-and-buzzer system in late July to steal catchers' signals and tip off their hitters. (AP Photo, File) (AP1952)

NEW YORK, NY – Stealing signals. Banging on a trash can. Beating the Dodgers in October.

Sounds very familiar to Carl Erskine.

"If they're going to go back to 2017 with penalties for the Astros," he said Wednesday, "then I want them to go all the way back to 1951 to help us."

The old Brooklyn pitcher was laughing. Sort of.

Now 93, Erskine vividly recalled what — until this week — had been the biggest sign-stealing scandal in baseball history.

Up by 13 1/2 games in mid-August, Jackie Robinson and the Dodgers seemed destined. That was until rookie Willie Mays and the New York Giants came flying back, fueled by an incredible, late run in home games at the Polo Grounds, and forced a best-of-three playoff for the National League pennant.

Erskine was warming up in the Brooklyn bullpen in Game 3 when Bobby Thomson connected for the famed "Shot Heard 'Round the World," a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth off Ralph Branca that rallied the Giants to a 5-4 win.

A half-century later, a giant secret was revealed: The Giants had rigged a spyglass-and-buzzer system in late July to steal catchers' signals and tip off their hitters.