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Jim Leyland recalls the time he gave a very slow player the steal sign ... accidentally

Tom Prince had a pretty decent MLB career, spent mostly as a backup catcher for the Pirates, Dodgers, Phillies, Twins and Royals from 1987-2003. But in 1,357 plate appearances spread over 519 games, Price stole just nine bases in 17 attempts.

So it probably surprised the backstop when Pittsburgh skipper Jim Leyland gave him the swipe sign during the ninth inning of a game against the Padres on May 17, 1992.

Leyland recently explained that particular incident to MLive.com as only Jim Leyland can:

"He was a slow catcher. We were behind about three runs late in the game and my steal sign that day was if I put my arm up on the back pad (behind the bench) in the dugout. I was looking at something on my thing and I put my arm up. I was looking at my lineup card or something. I looked up and [he] took off.

"He did the right thing and he got thrown out by 20 feet, and we ended up losing by one run. We made a little comeback, and we ended up losing by one run."

The former Tigers manager brought the story up after the new Tigers manager, Brad Ausmus, made a similar mistake during Friday's Spring Training game against the Yankees.

At the very least, both men were quick to acknowledge who was really at fault:

"Don't blame the players for that one," Ausmus said after the game. "Blame the manager."

Leyland said that everyone who has managed has had something similar happen to him at some point.

"People make mistakes," Leyland said. "I see a misspelled word in the paper once in a while."
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