The Washington Post, January 6, 1896 – Page 8
Arthur Irwin is a great exponent of playing by signs; in fact, he is crazy on the subject. Every spring the team that Arthur puts in training is compelled to learn as much pantomime as Dummy Hoy does in a day’s conversation with a school of mutes. Playing by signs to a limited degree is a good thing, but too much of it is a positive handicap. After all, the best sign in baseball is to hit the ball safely and get around the bases.
Al Buckenberger is a firm believer in signs. When he took the St. Louis Browns South last spring he traveled over considerable territory playing exhibition games. Stopping off a dinky towns and traveling in sleeping cars did not have the effect of reducing the weight of the individual Browns. Little training to reduce the weight was indulged in, but every day reports were sent to St. Louis of the excellent progress the team was making in the way of learning to play by signs. When the team returned to St. Louis, hog far, Chris Von der Ahe remarked: “I guess they have learned to make signs at the waiter in order to get more than their share to eat.” The Browns’ knowledge of how to play by signs landed them in eleventh place.