Page 1

Deaf Culture: Learning About Dummy Hoy If you are interested in Deaf culture, there are several notable figures in Deaf history that you will probably love to learn about. One of the more notable figures in Deaf history is Dummy Hoy. Dummy Hoy was born William Ellsworth Hoy in May of 1862. Hoy was born in the small town of Houcktown, Ohio. At the age of three, Hoy contracted meningitis. The meningitis left him completely deaf.

The Youth of Dummy Hoy Hoy attended high school in Columbus at the Ohio State School for the Deaf. Hoy had excellent grades and exceled academically, earning the title of valedictorian of his high school. After graduating, Hoy opened a simple shoe repair shop in his hometown, and spent his time playing baseball on the weekends. Hoy was contracted to play for a Wisconsin baseball team in 1886. In 1888, Hoy joined the Washington Nationals and became the third deaf person to ever play in major league baseball. Hoy was a talented baseball player and an asset to the Nationals. In 1889, Hoy broke a baseball record by throwing out three runners at home plate in one game, a record which hasn’t been broken since. Throughout his baseball career, Hoy would go on to play for the Buffalo Bison, St. Louis Browns, Washington Senators, Louisville Colonels, Chicago White Sox, and the Cincinnati Reds. Some people find the fact that Hoy was nicknamed “Dummy” to be rude and offensive; however, in Hoy’s time, the word “dumb” was used for people who could not speak. Since Hoy could not speak, he was sometimes called “dumb” and therefore the nickname “Dummy” stuck. Hoy would even correct people when they called him “William” instead of “Dummy.” Hoy is known to have been one of the smartest and most intelligent baseball players of his time. Rumor has it that Hoy was integral in helping baseball hand signals come into play for regular use. There is no concrete evidence for this notion, however, so the issues remains debated today.

Dummy Hoy and the Baseball Hall of Fame There are groups of people who want to induct Hoy in the Baseball Hall of Fame in New York, but the jury is still out on whether or not he will get to enter the Hall of Fame. After Hoy retired from baseball, he and his wife Anna Maria settled onto a dairy form in Mount Healthy Ohio, right outside Cincinnati. In 1951, he became the first deaf athlete to be inducted to the American Athletic Association of the Deaf Hall of Fame. Hoy unfortunately died in 1961 at the age of 99. Until 1973, Hoy was the major league baseball player who had lived the longest (in 1973, Ralph Miller lived to the age of 100). In 2001, the baseball field at Gallaudet University was christened the William “Dummy” Hoy Baseball Field in honor of Hoy’s life and legacy. If one of your close loved ones is deaf, there are things you can do to make communication with them easier. Caption Call is a company that offers many devices and telephones that help deaf people communicate with both Deaf and hearing people. Caption Call also helps hearing people communicate with Deaf people.

Deaf Culture Learning About Dummy Hoy