Former New York Mets general manager Steve Phillips discusses a time when Bobby Valentine was illegally stealing signs.
At this current time, baseball fans around the country are experiencing one of the larger scandals in the sport in recent memory. The sign-stealing from the Houston Astros during the 2017 and 2018 campaigns have cost numerous individuals their jobs, including managers A.J. Hinch and Alex Cora.
Now, former ballplayers, managers, and coaches could be thinking back to times when they may have unknowingly stole signs in an illegal way. This includes former New York Mets manager Bobby Valentine, who stole signs during a game in 1998.
Former general manager Steve Phillips revealed the story this week.
Ex-Mets GM Steve Phillips tells Mad Dog about the time in '98 when he reported his own team to the Commissioners Office after discovering that Bobby Valentine was videotaping opposing third-base coaches. pic.twitter.com/73BC9jJTm4
— Funhouse (@BackAftaThis) January 15, 2020
“[Former Phillies general manager] Ed Wade knocks on the window [of my booth] and says, ‘Hey, come on over here. The camera behind the plate between pitches it keeps sort of turning down toward third base and then coming back again. What is that?,'” Phillips told Chris “Mad Dog” Russo on SiriusXM this week. “I said, ‘I don’t know, let me check.’
“Called down the video room. And my video guy said, ‘Bobby asked me to tape their third-base coach to see if we can get his signs.’ I said, ‘Yeah, that’s a violation. You can’t do that. So, if anybody ever asks you to do that again, you tell them no.’
“I went down to Bobby afterward. And he said, ‘Oh, OK, then we won’t do that anymore.’ And we didn’t do it.”
Phillips served as the Mets general manager from 1997-2003, with Valentine working in the managerial role from 1996-2002.
The MLB placed harsh sanctions on Hinch and Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, suspending them both for one year. This came prior to the firing of either. Cora, the now-former Red Sox manager, is still awaiting his punishment from the league.
Don’t be surprised if more stories come out regarding past sign-stealing in the big leagues.