View Full Version : Rumor Only: Hawk used to tip pitches at Comiskey

04-23-2005, 05:29 PM
One of my best friends in the world (who's also the son of a recently inducted hall of fame NBA coach) told me a great story at a Redbirds game the other night. He went to Northwestern in the 80's, and he talked to me about his friend that had a WGN internship. This girl worked with all three teams that WGN covered (she got to hand Harry Caray the mike during the 7th inning stretch)....

Anyway, she said her favorite announcer to work with was Hawk Harrelson, and she always noticed he would study the video feeds and would click this little button on the floor from time to time. Puzzled by what was going on, she asked around the WGN staff, and they said that Hawk's got a switch on the floor that operates a tiny light in the outfield area that the Sox players could see. If Hawk would see a fastball sign on the monitor, he'd quickly push the button for the Sox players to see to steal the pitch sign.

I don't know how much truth there is to this girl's story, but my friend said the girl would always talk about it. He's not a Sox fan, but absolutely loves Hawk due to the fact that he's "the ultimate homer".

Baby Fisk
04-23-2005, 05:36 PM
"I am shocked -- SHOCKED! -- by this assault on my integrity. Mercy! [*looking guilty as hell*] I for one would never -- NEVER! -- condone the illicit delivery of signals to [*almost snickers but catches himself*] to White Sox batters. Lord knows the many fine coaches and staff of the White Sox organization have those boys ready to face any pitch without needing a humble television announcer [*coughs to disguise his laughter*]... Ahem. Mercy! As I was saying, it's time now for viewer e-mail!"

04-23-2005, 05:37 PM
Good story, but I doubt it. You'd think WGN technicians would resist telling this explosive secret to an intern.

If true, it would have been found out eventually. The time between a catcher calling a pitch and the pitcher throwing the balls is several seconds. Someone would have noticed batters looking to a certain direction before pitches, or batters seemingly knowing every pitch.

I wonder what their home record was during the period your friend was an intern on WGN. Worth looking into.

04-23-2005, 05:49 PM
This is hilarious. Hawk, the ultimate homer, giving pitch signs? Maybe this balances out the Twinkies air control on home runs?

04-23-2005, 05:51 PM
I doubt Ken Harrellson has the brains to figure out a pitch call sequence.

04-23-2005, 06:02 PM
hmmm....sounds like a urban ledgen:o:

04-23-2005, 06:34 PM
This is an OLD rumor and one that really doesn't deserve to be kept alive.

Lip Man 1
04-23-2005, 10:53 PM
For what it's worth, from Denny Trease's interview with WSI. Denny was the Royals TV announcer for 12 year until the early 90's:

"Also there was a rumor going around for many years and I heard this from different announcers on different teams, that Hawk actually called pitches from up in the broadcast booth. He had a little switch in the TV booth and hed turn it on or off activating a light in the dugout or the scoreboard that would tip off the hitter. Im not trying to impugn his reputation, Im just saying this is what I was told."


04-24-2005, 12:19 AM
I won't speculate whether the story is true or not. But a few years ago when I was watching Sox games on TV, I remember hearing Harrelson talk several times about players' stealing catchers' signs.

Never did he say there was anything wrong with it.

04-24-2005, 07:28 AM
Truth be told Hawk would signal down to Andy the Clown and his nose would light up once for the fastball and twice for the breaking ball.

04-24-2005, 11:06 AM
The only reason I would doubt it is because whenever there's the possibility that a guy on second is stealing signs he always says something along the lines of "the hitters probably doesn't want to know." At any rate, The Sox haven't won enough championships to make this a scandal.

04-24-2005, 11:12 AM
I doubt Ken Harrellson has the brains to figure out a pitch call sequence.


"Daver, how many major league games have you played in?"


"Here we go (sigh)."




"Daver was the 1986 MVP in Japan."

04-24-2005, 01:03 PM
This story sounds like the old rumor that Chief Wahoo at old Municipal Stadium in Cleveland would flash his eyes, or a light would come on in his eye, or something, depending on what signs had been captured and interpreted by Indians staff somewhere (possibly in the scoreboard with binoculars).

04-24-2005, 03:10 PM
Debbie Wrobleski who works in Boston sports radio has told a similar story about Hawk a few times. She went to Northwestern so it could well be the same source,

04-24-2005, 04:40 PM
Truth be told Hawk would signal down to Andy the Clown and his nose would light up once for the fastball and twice for the breaking ball.

So what would Andy do if he knew a curveball was coming??

Honk a horn??Ring a bell?? Maybe he'd start his "come onnnnnnn,
YOU WHITE SOX" chant.:rolling: :rolling:

04-25-2005, 06:41 AM
I forget where I came across this tidbit of information but I heard in the old Go-Go Sox era of the 50's the Sox had the scoreboard operator at old Comiskey Park use binoculars to steal the catchers' signs and then relay them to the hitter.

I heard they used Sherm Lollar's # 10 on the score board to relay the signal. If it was the fastball they'd jiggle the # 1 in Lollar's uniform number, if it was a breaking ball they'd jiggle the # 0.

Then a few years ago the story broke about how the 1951 Giants team that got so hot and caught the Brooklyn Dodgers down the stretch were doing something similar.
(but not using Sherm Lollar's number) :D:

Lip Man 1
04-25-2005, 12:20 PM
That is true to the extent that the Sox did have a 'spy' in the scoreboard peering in to steal the catcher's signs. I don't know how it was relayed to the hitters though.

In fact when that got out, one of the Sox pitchers, I want to say Al Worthington, a deeply religious man, quit the club because he was upset over the cheating. Worthington later went to the Twins where he helped them get to the 1965 World Series. I think this happened in 1960.


34 Inch Stick
04-28-2005, 11:53 AM
Somebody get me my tin foil hat while I dial up Mulder and Scully.