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Deaf Major Leaguers

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  • Deaf Major Leaguers

    Deaf Major Leaguers
    Ed Dundon pitcher 1883-84
    Tom Lynch pitcher 1884
    William Hoy outfielder 1888-1902
    Reuban Stephenson outfielder 1892
    Luther Taylor pitcher 1900-08
    George Leitner pitcher 1901-02
    William Deegan pitcher 1901
    Dick Sipek outfielder 1945
    Curtis Pride outfielder 1993-
    Being that times are different, Sipek was the first deaf-mute not to be nicknamed “Dummy.” John Ryn is thought to be the first deaf ballplayer. His career may have started as early as the 1870s. In the minors deaf-mute George Kihm played first base from 1895-1911, racking up 2,245 hits and a .293 batting average. Lefthander Ryan Ketchner pitched at Triple-A Las Vegas for the Dodgers during the 2005 season. There is a Dummy Murphy listed in the encyclopedia but that nickname seems to stem from his four errors on April 24, 1914 and subsequent misplays.

  • #2
    You know how Dummy Taylor used to indicate his displeasure with umpires' calls on his pitches that he disagreed with?

    He held his nose.
    "Here's a crazy thought I've always had: if they cut three fingers off each hand, I'd really be a great hitter because then I could level off better." Paul Waner (lifetime .333 hitter, 3,152 lifetime hits.


    • #3
      A deaf or hard of hearing person playing big-league ball is pretty damn impressive. Playing in the field must be extremely difficult without any sound cues. I've seen pictures of Curtis Pride wearing hearing aids so he might have some residitual hearing that might make it a tiny bit easier. The crack of the bat sounds low frequency to me and maybe Pride can hear some aided low frequency sounds, but the rumble of crowd noises may attenuate any help the hearng aids give him.


      • #4
        Dummy Hoy should be in the HOF

        He was the one who instituted umpires using hand signals, because he would turn around to see what it was

        Plus he was a damn fine hitter, he was top 3 in walks upon his retirement and one of the best CFers of all time

        Sam Crawford said he had a grunt/squeek he would do to call off other OFers that was hilarious and hard to hear sometimes

        As for Dummy Taylor...I think he and McGraw got tossed one time because Hurts the umpire had a deaf relative and knew sign McGraw and Taylor were using sign language to voice their displeasure with Hurst and he saw it...then tossed them both

        iin the 1904 pennant race against the Giants and Cubs...the ump got ticked at Sam Mertes after a striek 3 call and then McGraw who also coached 3rd that he also tossed Taylor who coached 1st...saying, lol, that Taylor was making to much noise (most say Taylor never made any noise at all)
        Last edited by Imapotato; 02-25-2006, 07:31 PM.


        • #5
          Originally posted by Imapotato
          He was the one who instituted umpires using hand signals, because he would turn around to see what it was
          Is that a true story? I remember reading somewhere that umpires were doing that beofre Dummy Hoy for the benefit of the crowd.


          • #6
            it probably wasn't hoy but it keeps getting attributed to him - you can't kill these ideas - many keep repeating them over and over again -myths never die


            • #7
              Alot more say yea, instead of nay

              Including his own website, which was very heavily researched+

              Most importantly, Hoy played a pioneering role in the creation of the hand signals still used today in baseball games throughout the world. When he began his professional career in Oshkosh, all umpires’ calls were shouted. While at bat, Hoy had to ask his coach if a ball or strike had been called. The opposing pitcher took advantage of Hoy’s distraction, quick-pitching him—sending out the next pitch before he was ready. (He batted only .219 during his first season.) Around 1887, Hoy wrote out a request to the third-base coach, asking him to raise his left arm to indicate a ball, his right arm for a strike. Hoy could follow the hand signals after each pitch, and be ready for the next. And the umpires and other players found these signals so useful that they became standard practice—they’re still used everywhere. Hoy adapted the “out” and “safe” signals from ASL.

              Thus, the intricate system of baseball hand signals—the umpire’s signals, manager’s call signals to batters, and the outfielders’ call signals now used in all levels of baseball and softball, can be traced to him.

              Umpire Bill Klem’s plaque in the Hall of Fame credits him with inventing hand signals (which he is supposed to have done in 1905). But old newspaper clippings as far back as 1888 contain explicit references to Hoy and his hand signals—well before Klem began his umpiring career.

              The first successful deaf major-leaguer has his own Website! Biographical basics, statistics, news, & an upcoming book

     makes perfect sense
              Last edited by Imapotato; 02-26-2006, 12:36 AM.


              • #8
                doesn't the first sentence of that web site say hoy was the first deaf major leaguer - does that tell a better story? - yes - is it the true? - no - but apparently it doesn't matter to too many

                my experience researching these things is this - many are said (or even claim themselves) to be the first to do something - the truth usually is that it happened before them but yes that person may have had a role in the evolution of such

                many times things first happen in the minors - perhaps the low minors - they are scantly reported (making it difficult to document) and those reports are in small newspapers which are rarely researched

                eventually (perhaps decades from now) researchers will turn their eye to little dinky old newspapers and others that have been overlooked and find references that predate our current knowledge - but you know what - people won't care then either - the myth has already been engraved
                Last edited by Brian McKenna; 02-26-2006, 07:04 AM.


                • #9
                  once again - the internet proves to be the worst source for baseball history accuracy - many sites suck you in and you feel you just learned something and then you come to find out your taking garbage in and now it's hard to get rid of - it's called an agenda - that is what that site has - something they want to say or promote and they'll use any fluff to do so - the casual baseball fans are at a huge disadvantage - they will never and can never get it right by surfing the net - i just had this discussion with a lady in the women's forum about jackie mitchell supposedly striking out ruth and gehrig - she just tuned me out and i haven't seen her since


                  • #10
                    According to "Nineteenth Century Stars," Paul Hines' partial deafness also led to hand signals. I recall reading somewhere that he was beaned in 1886 by Jim Whitney, which resulted in his handicap. Since this thread has revealed so much about hand signals, I've come to the realization that their use can be rightfully attributed to many past players and umpires, not just one.


                    • #11
                      I don't have access to my notes right now, but George "Dummy" Kihm was involved in a sad story once about coming so close to your dream but never attaining it.

                      He was hitting well over .300 in the NY State League one year. A scout for one of the two Boston major leagues teams arrived by train to purchase his contract from his minor league club (it may have been Albany?). Kihm had a game that afternoon so the scout sat down to watch him play first.

                      Kihm was on first base and he attempted to steal second base. The catcher's throw was high causing the fielder to leap into the air for it. Dummy Kihm slid into second base as the fielder came down and his spikes crushed Kihm's thumb.

                      While he was led away to visit a doctor, the scout left on the next train with the purchase money for Kihm still on him.

                      Dummy Kihm never played major league ball. He recovered from his fractured thumb injury, but the door had closed on him that fateful day when he slid into second base.
                      "He's tougher than a railroad sandwich."
                      "You'se Got The Eye Of An Eagle."


                      • #12
                        Luis Figueroa - most recent impaired

                        Luis Figueroa who is legally deaf played a couple of games for the Pirates in 2001 . A native of Puerto Rico he can read lips both in english and spanish !
                        A very good fielder ( 2b- ss ) he has made a tremendous improvement in his batting in recent years .


                        • #13
                          I was on the 'quotes' page...which if incorrect would be plagarism...but not having a clue...I wouldn't suspect plagarism in everything that is quoted I suppose....nor have I 'read' Glory of the which I saw the exact quote from Sam Crawford about Dummy Hoy


                          • #14
                            That's what I quoted and you said only someone would out a clue would believe ANYTHING on that site

                            Those were 3rd party quotes...I wasn't campaigning Hoy for the HOF, just that there is proof that he is credited with starting hand signals

                            I mean out and safe are straight from ASL...coincidence? maybe but unlikely

                            Also Hoy began his career the beginning of 1886...and many players used pseudo names because baseball was not 'legit' the name of the P could be Hoy
                            Last edited by Imapotato; 02-27-2006, 12:33 PM.


                            • #15
                              How is some proof from players and sources in that era, including Sam Crawford, a teammate and HOFer not reliable?
                              It's as reliable as the 'news' clips you provided if not moreso...hell Crawford saying it puts alot of stock in me saying yes, because I am sure Hoy had the reputation when Sam met him and asked "whose the deaf guy?"

                              as for 1886...I know that is when Hoy started playing in Oskosh, that is not from the site

                              as for your said "nobody with a clue would take the site or its cause seriously."

                              Cause, yes, point...the site, that I felt was directed at regards to the paragraph I quoted
                              Last edited by Imapotato; 02-27-2006, 04:46 PM.


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