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FBI Investigates Whether St. Louis Cardinals Hacked Houston Astros

St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Michael Wacha throws during the fourth inning of a spring exhibition baseball game against the Houston Astros in Kissimmee, Fla.

St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Michael Wacha throws during the fourth inning of a spring exhibition baseball game against the Houston Astros in Kissimmee, Fla. // Carlos Osorio/AP

The FBI is investigating the St. Louis Cardinals for allegedly hacking into the computer networks of the Houston Astros, the New York Times reports (paywall)—a unusual case of corporate-style computer espionage in the world of professional sports, which may end up being traced to a re-used password.

The alleged hacks center around former Cardinals executive Jeff Luhnow, who left the team to become the Astros general manager in 2011. Investigators believe that Cardinals employees—concerned that Luhnow and several executives who accompanied him may have taken proprietary information when they left—used a master list of the passwords that Luhnow used at the Cardinals to gain access to the Astros’ network containing player data and other strategic information.

The Cardinals are one of the most successful teams in baseball, with nine World Series appearances since 2000. The Astros have experienced a resurgence under Luhnow and are currently leading their division. But they were still pretty terrible in 2012, when the alleged hacks took place, finishing the season with 55 wins and 107 losses.

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