In his 1989 autobiography edited by Ira Berkow, Hank Greenberg: The Story of My Life (Times Books), published three years after the slugger’s death, Greenberg freely admitted to stealing signs beginning in early September of 1940 and credits that as one main reason Detroit won the pennant.
How it came about is rather unbelievable.
Greenberg said that the day after Tommy Bridges had pitched, the great Tiger hurler was sitting in the left field upper deck of Briggs Stadium with his hunting buddy, the injured third baseman Pinky Higgins. Bridges was holding a new rifle he had purchased that had a telescopic lens and when he looked through it at the catcher he could read the signs. (Something tells me that you will never again hear of or see a baseball player, let alone a fan, pointing a rifle towards home plate……at least I hope not.)
Here is how Hammerin Hank explained it:
Image at top: Briggs Stadium center field bleachers, Game 5 of the 1940 World Series, Oct. 6, 1940. Detroit News photo.