SIGNALING IN BASEBALL IS MORE SOPHISTICATED THAN ILLEGAL SIGNALING IN BRIDGE. Yesterday’s post described the illegal system used in 1965 in which two partners “were discovered using finger signals—clutching their cards variously with two, three, or four fingers, with an array of odd spacings between the digits—to communicate the number of hearts they held.” When I read about this incident in 1965, I was puzzled by the simplicity of the system. Why not, for example, have the code change with each new deal? Say, have the hand signal convey the number of spades for the second deal, clubs for the third, and diamonds for the fourth? Or why not change the signals every tenth deal?
In baseball, a coach’s message is frequently in two stages. Touching a cap, for example, might indicate that the next signal will be the operative one. If you google “baseball signals system” you will find articles describing signaling systems which can be used by very young baseball players. This article, for example.
Professional bridge players should be the among the people best suited to memorize elaborate conventions or series of signs. If little leaguers can do it, so can bridge players.