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The move used by Southaven (Miss.) High pitcher Wyatt Short in the opener of the best-of-three Class 6A championship series was a hybrid, a mix of pickoff and hidden ball trick. With one out in the top of the seventh, a Harrison Central High runner on second, and the score tied 3--3, the senior lefthander faked a pickoff throw while his fielders reacted as if the ball had rolled into centerfield. When the runner took off for third, Short, who had never given up the ball, had him in a rundown. Southhaven went on to win 4--3, then clinched the title with an 8--2 victory.
The hidden ball trick—almost as old as the game itself—has had its share of artful conjurers in MLB. Here are some of the memorable sleights of glove seen (or unseen) through the years.
Oct. 9, 1907
The Tigers' third baseman catches Cubs outfielder Jimmy Slagle in the first successful use of the trick in World Series history.
April 17, 1945
The White Sox' third baseman gets Indians shortstop Lou Boudreau—who one day earlier had said there was no excuse for falling for the trick—in the sixth inning of a 5--2 Chicago win.
Aug. 5, 1989