“From fake foul tips to dugout disguises, sign stealing to sticky stuff, Mark Armour and Daniel Levitt don’t miss a trick — and that’s saying something when the subject is baseball, where rule-bending has always been part of the game. Armour and Levitt teamed up for the definitive history of the baseball front office with In Pursuit of Pennants, and now they’ve written the definitive history of cheating in our national pastime.”
–Tyler Kepner, author of K: A History of Baseball in Ten Pitches
Intentional Balk won the 2023 Dr. Harold and Dorothy Seymour Medal, which honors the best book of baseball history or biography published during the preceding calendar year
“I don’t advocate breaking the rules, but I do advocate testing their elasticity.”
— Hall of Fame owner Bill Veeck
Baseball people have been cheating for 150 years. They have defaced baseballs, enhanced bats, taken drugs, skipped bases, modified the playing field, signed underaged players, used binoculars or video cameras to steal signs, and much more. They are not, as a rule, bad people–they are competitive people, dedicating their life to a sport where they are heavily rewarded for winning. The sharpest of them, the most innovative, look for ways to straddle the line between the lawful and unlawful, and on occasion, wanting a small edge that might win a few games or save their careers, have strayed over that line.
“I don’t know how they’re going to go about it, but somewhere down the line there have got to be rules to stop the cheating. You either play by the books or you don’t play, whether you’re a pitcher or a hitter.”
— Hall of Fame manager Whitey Herzog
Here we present the history of rule-breaking in baseball. Why are some forms of cheating tolerated and even openly joked about while others lead to scandal? Where is the line between deception and cheating, and how has that changed over the decades? We explore these questions and more in our book.