Tinker, Tailor, Shortstop, Spy: An Interview with Former CIA Analyst Bryan Soderholm-Difatte Part 1

Baseball has been played in the United States since the mid-19th Century, and from the very beginning teams were trying to gain a competitive edge against their rivals. In many cases, this involved stealing signs – the messages passed from coaches to players or from catchers to pitchers. In essence, this is a signals intelligence operation: one team is encrypting its messages, while the other is attempting to intercept these messages, decrypt them, and use the resulting intelligence to their advantage. SPY Historian Vince Houghton sat down with Bryan Soderholm, a former CIA analyst who is now putting his training to use analyzing baseball statistics and history. They discussed the influence of spycraft on the game of baseball – in particular, the infamous case of the 1951 New York Giants, who set the standard for baseball espionage.