Former White Sox pitcher Jack McDowell claims team used video to steal signs at old Comiskey Park

The Cy Young winner alleges manager Tony La Russa was behind the the scheme in the 1980s.

SHARE Former White Sox pitcher Jack McDowell claims team used video to steal signs at old Comiskey Park
Former White Sox pitcher Jack McDowell claims the team used video equipment to steal signs at old Comiskey Park in the 1980s.

Former White Sox pitcher Jack McDowell claims the team used video equipment to steal signs at old Comiskey Park in the 1980s.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Former White Sox pitcher Jack McDowell claims former manager Tony La Russa created an illegal sign-stealing operation at old Comiskey Park in the 1980s.

In an interview with radio station WFNZ-AM in Charlotte, N.C., McDowell claims the Sox set up a camera that zoomed in on opposing catchers and a light in an outfield advertisement that could let hitters know what pitches were coming. McDowell alleges that a control switch for the light was in the manager’s office.

“I’m going to whistle-blow this thing now because I’m getting tired of this crap,” McDowell told the station.

“This stuff’s getting old, where they target certain guys and let other people off the hook,” McDowell told the station. “... Everybody who’s been around the game knows all this stuff.”

La Russa managed the White Sox from 1979-86. McDowell joined the Sox in 1987.

McDowell’s allegations come as Major League Baseball is dealing with a cheating scandal involving the Houston Astros that has so far resulted in the dismissals of three big-league managers and a general manager.

MLB’s investigation found that the Astros used a video feed from a center field camera to see and decode the opposing catcher’s signs during the 2017 season. Players banged on a trash can to signal to batters what was coming, believing it would improve the batter’s odds of getting a hit.

The Astros fired manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow. The Red Sox then parted ways with manager Alex Cora, who was the Astros’ bench coach in 2017. The only player named in the MLB report, Carlos Beltran, left the New York Mets two months after the team hired him as its new manager.

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