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Many little boys grow up dreaming about being in the MLB. Very few get the honor of pursuing that dream. It takes hard work, dedication, and pure talent. It also takes an extremely humble, kind, and respected character to live up to the MLB expectations. These expectations could not explain William Ellsworth “Dummy” Hoy, any better. Hoy is a baseball role model that many look up to, because of the character traits that he exhibits. It is said that there is no mean bone in his body. His determination, compassion and selflessness touched the heart of many. I chose to write my research paper on William Hoy due to the fact that baseball is very near and dear to my heart being, I grew up in Cooperstown, NY. Although I am a passionate New York Yankees fan, and Hoy played for the Cincinnati Reds, I am still very much intrigued by Hoy’s story.
William Hoy was born in Houcktown, Ohio on May 23, 1862. Hoy was born hearing, and it was not until the age of three that he acquired a hearing loss. He lost his hearing due to a severe case of meningitis. Meningitis is a viral or bacterial illness which leads to the swelling of the meninges in the brain causing, extreme headaches, fever, convulsions, delirium and death. However, Hoy was fortunate enough to survive, and only lose his hearing. Hoy grew up on a farm with is parents, Jacob and Rebecca Hoffman, three brothers and sister. His education includes, graduating from Ohio School of the Deaf in 1879, and, being valedictorian of his high school class. After graduating he opened his own shoe repair shop but, he got caught up with playing baseball. As crazy as it sounds, all that it took for his baseball career to begin was for him to be noticed by a man passing by. The man came up to him and asked him if he wanted to play baseball for the Kenton, Ohio team. The man was a bit turned off by the fact that he was deaf and had a very squeaky voice. However, he decided to give him a chance anyway.
After impressing everyone by his baseball skills, William was promoted to the major league, playing for the Washington Nationals. He played for several other major league teams after the Nationals however, most of his success took place during his time on the Cincinnati Reds. William Hoy refereed to himself as “dummy”. The society that William was born into, referred to people who were mute as “dumb”. Therefore, the nickname Dummy came about. However, as his fame grew the media, his fans and team members refused to call him dummy. They called him “Bill”, “Billie”, “Will” or “Willie”. Hoy corrected them when they called him by any of those names and said “call me dummy”. He struggled to have people take him seriously on the field. He had a difficult time communicating with his team mates, as well as the umpires. He was doubted growing up because no one believed that he would be able to be a famous baseball playing because he is deaf.
An article titled “William Hoy, Cooperstown and the meaning of (dis)ability” states that Hoy himself said “As to the yelling of my own coaches, that meant nothing to me. They meant well but I could not take my eyes off the ball in play to watch them. So I had to go solo. I was always mentally figuring in advance all possible plays on the bases and in the field. ” Eventually as he earned the respect from his team mates and developed a relationship with them, they themselves learned sign language too. It is stated that William Hoy would have been successful whether he was able to hear or not. It was his talent and personality that made him the famous man that he was. In fact, at a hight of 5 foot 6 inches, and a weight of 160 pound, Hoy is actually one of the smallest baseball players in history. Although, his speed made up for it, ending his career with 596 stolen bases. Keeping in mind that times have changed and during that time, a steak was considered going from first to third, or second to home. Today a steal is considered stealing any base, which can be just from first to second, or third to home. He played in 1797 games, at a batting average of. 288 with 2048 hits, 1429 runs, 40 home runs, and 725 runs batted in. It is said that Hoy is responsible for the use of hand signals in baseball. However, there is little to no concrete evidence to back up that statement. This is believed because he wrote a letter to the umpires saying “Please raise your right hand if the pitch is a strike and, please raise your left hand if the pitch is a ball. ” This method is still used today.
Although it is believed that Hoy is responsible for this method, the umpire Charles Rigler holds credit for it. There is a strong push to get Hoy inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. However, I unfortunately do not see that happening any time soon due to the fact that is a little more difficult to induct someone who is diseased. The deaf community needs more famous role models like William “Dummy” Hoy. He is a proof that a person who is deaf can live out their dreams and do anything that they want to do in life. Not only did have great talent, he had drive, and determination. He had an incredible character and had an uplifting attitude and was a great asset to his team mates. He had such a good relationship with his peers on the field, they took it upon themselves to learn sign language so they could better understand each other.
William Hoy deserves to be inducted into the Hall Of Fame. He deserves more recgonization than he already has. Throughout my research of William Hoy, I have gained much respect for him and became one of his fans.
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