Eddie Yost, dubbed “The Walking Man,” passes away at age 86

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Former major league third baseman Eddie Yost, who led the AL in walks six times in an 18-year big-league career, died at age 86 on Tuesday.

Long before walks were cool, Yost was the champion of the category, racking up huge totals despite the fact that he wasn’t an overpowering hitter. Yost never batted .300 and topped 15 homers just once in his career, which spanned from 1944-62, but he twice led the AL in on-base percentage and finished in the top six five more times.

Along with leading the AL in walks six times, he finished second to Ted Williams twice. He topped 100 runs five times, leading the AL once. He also led the AL in doubles one year.

Still, for all of his success, Yost made just one All-Star team, and it actually happened in one of his weaker seasons in 1952. He was at his best in 1959, when he hit .278/.435/.436 with 21 homers in his first year with the Tigers. He spent his first 14 seasons with the Senators before finishing up with two years in Detroit and two more in Los Angeles with the Angels.

At the time of his retirement, Yost was fourth on the all-time walk list behind Babe Ruth, Williams and Mel Ott. He currently ranks 11th with 1,614 walks.

After wrapping up his playing career, Yost spent 22 years coaching with the Senators, Mets and Red Sox before retiring in 1984.

MLB to crack down on sign stealing

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We’ve had a couple of notable incidents of sign stealing in Major League Baseball over the past couple of years. Most famously, the Red Sox were found to be using Apple Watches of all things to relay signs spied via video feed. Sports Illustrated reported yesterday that there have been other less-publicized and unpublicized incidents as well, mostly with in-house TV cameras — as opposed to network TV cameras — stationed in the outfield and trained on catchers, for the specific purpose of stealing signs.

As such, SI reports, Major League Baseball is cracking down beginning this year. Within the next couple weeks an already-drafted and circulated rule will take effect which will (a) ban in-house outfield cameras from foul pole to foul pole; (b) will limit live broadcasts available to teams to the team’s replay official only, and the replay official will be watched by a league official to keep them from relaying signs to the team; and (c) other TV monitors that are available to the clubs will be on an eight-second delay to prevent real-time sign stealing. There will likewise be limits on TV monitors showing the game feed in certain places like tunnels and clubhouses.

Penalties for violation of the rules will include the forfeiting of draft picks and/or international spending money. General managers will have to sign a document in which they swear they know of know sign-stealing schemes.

As was the case when the Apple Watch incident came up, there will not be any new rules regarding old fashioned sign stealing by runners on second base or what have you, as that is viewed as part of the game. Only the technology-aided sign stealing that has become more prominent in recent years — but which has, of course, existed in other forms for a very, very long time — is subject to the crackdown.

While gamesmanship of one form or another has always been part of baseball, the current wave of sign-stealing is seen as a pace-of-play issue just as much as a fairness issue. Because of the actual sign-stealing — and because of paranoia that any opponent could be stealing signs — clubs have gone to far more elaborate and constantly changing sign protocols. This requires mound meetings and pitchers coming off the rubber in order to re-start the increasingly complex series of signs from dugout to catcher and from catcher to pitcher.

Now, presumably, with these new rules coming online, teams will figure out a new way to cheat. It’s baseball, after all. It’s in their DNA.