Magazine article Editor & Publisher

The Ploys of Summer

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

The Ploys of Summer

Article excerpt

'WSJ' REPORTER OUTS STEALING

When the story broke recently, it was for baseball fans the shock heard 'round the world. The New York Giants stole catchers' signs on their way to snagging the 1951 National League pennant from the Brooklyn Dodgers. Almost as surprising was where the story appeared: The Wall Street Journal, the business daily that doesn't even have a sports section.

So how did the monarch of financial coverage dig up one of the biggest baseball scams since the White Sox fixed the 1919 World Series? Ask Journal scribe Joshua Harris Prager, the self-described "nonbusiness" writer who got wind of the Giants' sign-stealing scheme last September when it was little more than an urban legend. "I was talking to a friend about the possibility of a Subway Series," said Prager, 29, a four-year Journal veteran and avid baseball fan. "He mentioned this rumor, but said he didn't believe it." The friend happened to be Barry Halper, the well-known baseball memorabilia collector, Prager told E&P.

With that whiff of a big story, Prager turned detective, eventually interviewing all 21 living members of the 1951 Giants (including Willie Mays) over several months. "I was surprised that so many didn't want to talk about it," said Prager, who reached a number of former players through the Major League Baseball Players Association. …

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