Deane: Gene Michael, master of the hidden-ball trick

From SABR member Bill Deane at WordPress on September 14, 2017:

Gene “Stick” Michael, former player, coach, manager, and executive, died on September 7.  With him died the last true master of the hidden-ball trick.  Michael successfully executed the play five times in his 973-game career, fifth-most all-time, and more than anyone else in the past 80 years.  To put that into perspective, there have been only five successful tricks in the majors in this century.

The hidden-ball trick is a legal ruse which dates back to the earliest days of organized baseball, but which is rarely used any more.  To pull it off, an infielder conceals the ball until a baserunner, thinking the pitcher has it, wanders off the bag.  The art is to fool not only the runner, but his coaches and teammates and even the fans – yet the pitcher and umpire have to be wise to it.

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Originally published: September 14, 2017. Last Updated: September 14, 2017.