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Identifying an undated clipping about "Dummy" Hoy

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  • Identifying an undated clipping about "Dummy" Hoy

    I'm working on a full-length biography of William Ellsworth "Dummy" Hoy (1862-1961), and have been trying to close some gaps in the text, especially dates and pages of periodicals quoted in clippings that I've acquired, but which have insufficient documentation.

    One of these is from a baseball periodical, probably early 1960s. Here's the text:


    WHEN 27-year-old William Ellsworth Hoy first appeared in the big leagues, everybody called him “Dummy.” They said he couldn’t last. He was deaf and dumb. But William Hoy wasted no time showing the baseball world that he not only belonged in the majors but that he was one of the brainiest players ever seen on a diamond.

    For 14 seasons he was one of the great outfielders of his time. He played for Washington, St. Louis, Cincinnati, and Chicago and was a fly-hawk in the field. Few outfielders ever threw faster to bases, to nip runners trying to stretch hits to the outfield. He was a consistent hitter, and on the base paths he was an elusive diamond thief. He stole 514 bases.

    Because he was a deaf-mute, he couldn’t hear the umpire’s calls when at bat. So, he asked the umpire to raise his right arm to signify a strike. The idea soon became standard procedure for all big-league umpires. To this day, the umpire behind home plate, calling balls and strikes, always raises his hand for a strike call.

    “Dummy” Hoy played in 2,327 games. He played his last major-league game when he was past 42.

    When he left the majors, he not only departed from the game with the distinction of being the first deaf-mute to play in the big leagues but also with the fame of being the greatest deaf-mute ballplayer in baseball history. He lived to be 100.


    This clip is not completely accurate. Hoy, for example, did not live to be 100; he died at the age of 99 years, 7 months, and 3 weeks—pretty close, though. Also, he was not the first deaf major-leaguer. Edward Joseph "Dummy" Dundon (1859-1893), who pitched for a number of teams, including the Columbus Buckeyes in the American Association, which can be considered a major league, preceded him as a professional player.

    Moreover, Hoy was not a mute (although zillions of commentaries, biographies, etc., use that term). He could speak quite articulately on occasion, but, being deaf, preferred to use sign language and writing.

    Can anyone help me identify the source? And the date, page, etc.?

    Last edited by Hoyfan; 02-19-2019, 08:35 AM.

  • #2
    I'm pretty sure Hoy threw out a pitch at Crosley Field in the early 60's that led to renewed interest in him and possibly the article.
    "No matter how great you were once upon a time — the years go by, and men forget,” - W. A. Phelon in Baseball Magazine in 1915. “Ross Barnes, forty years ago, was as great as Cobb or Wagner ever dared to be. Had scores been kept then as now, he would have seemed incomparably marvelous.”


    • #3
      He did indeed. He tossed out the first pitch to open the Cincinnati Reds' 1961 season, then did the same at Opening Day of the third World Series game at Crosley Field (Reds versus Yankees) on October 7, 1961. That was likely his final public appearance. There was a spate of newspaper clippings. When he died, there was another spate of tributes; Shirley Povich wrote a particularly fine one.
      Last edited by Hoyfan; 02-19-2019, 08:33 AM.


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