Mike Fiers, the official whistleblower who called out the Houston Astros for their illicit sign stealing ways, is the pitcher who is most closely associated with the cheating scandal that rocked baseball, and for good reason. However, we shouldn't discount Danny Farquhar, the former White Sox reliever whose big league career came to an end in 2018 after suffering a scary brain hemorrhage, as an equally key figure.
A year before his ruptured aneurysm, Farquhar took the hill for the White Sox late in a game against the Astros on September 21, 2017. This otherwise insignificant clash between a playoff-bound Astros team and a bottom-of-the-barrel White Sox team, however, held more importance than anyone could have known. It was the game that Farquhar caught the Astros red-handed.
He shared his recollection of the game with writer and host Ben Reiter in the lastest episode of the RADIO.COM and Cadence13 podcast "The Edge: Houston Astros." Reiter noted that the matchup took place on a school and work night and, by the time Farquhar had entered the game, Minute Maid Park was much emptier than usual.
"There wasn't, you know, 30,000 fans," Farquhar said. "Probably 10,000. So it was a pretty empty stadium."
The first batter was Evan Gattis, pinch hitting for Brian McCann, and it took a matter of seconds for Farquhar to realize that something was off about this at bat.
"Evan Gattis had an incredible at bat," Farquhar recalls. "He was not chasing some pitches that he should have been, and I was like, wow, I'm throwing some really good pitches here.
"Every time I would throw a changeup, the catcher would put down a four, I would come set and I would hear a bang. And then finally, on the third changeup that I threw him, in my head I said, 'if I come set this pitch and I hear a bang, I'm calling the catcher out and we're changing our signs.' "
Farquhar got the signal, readied to fire and... *bang*. He called catcher Kevan Smith out to the mound and planned to throw his next off-speed pitch without the usual signal. There was no bang, but there was also no fastball along with the silence. Instead, Gattis whiffed — badly — at a changeup for the third strike.
Farquhar was noticeably angry, so much so that the media and others seemed to take note.
"My wife noticed it and she asked me after the game," Farquhar said. "She was like, 'is everything okay? Why were you so mad? You had a really good inning.' And I told her why I was upset but I was absolutely shocked the media didn't approach me after the game."
While the media steered clear of a fuming Farquhar, he attempted to fill in his teammates on what he had just experienced, though he didn't have much luck.
"Most of my teammates thought I was being paranoid and that I was just being a little crazy," Farquhar said. "Like, it's just rumors. Oh, Danny's just hearing things. I don't think most of the guys bought into it.
"I was absolutely sure something was happening."
His suspicion that the Astros were up to no good was confirmed when Jomboy used his video to share a prominent example of Houston's methods with a huge public audience. As of now, the video has over five million views.
Listen to the rest of the episode to learn more about Farquhar's experience and how it translated into a social media outburst of sleuthing, revelation and eventual scandal.