William Ellsworth Dummy Hoy

Dummy Hoy

Dummy Hoy

In 1886 a diminutive ballplayer appeared in the outfield of the National League Washington Senators.  He stood 5″5″ (shortest regular OF in history?) and hailed from northern Ohio.  He broke in the majors at the age of 26 and would become one of few players to play in 4 different major leagues during his 14 year ML career.
He would become a standout fielder and base runner and is enshrined in the Cincinnati Reds hall of fame.  He was born in 1862 and would live to see the Reds lose to the Yankees in 1961 World Series.  In fact, he was able to throw out the opening pitch at Crosley Field in 1960 – the Reds Centennial Year – at the age of 98!
“Dummy” Hoy, as he was known, was also the first known deaf player in Major League history.  He was discovered in his early 20″s playing pick-up ball during breaks from his cobbling job.  He went on to play a couple years with various mid-western minor leagues before making his debut with Washington.
In his rookie season of 1886 he stole 82 bases.  While Hoy was a threat on the base paths and a competitive hitter, often drawing many walks, his strength was in the field.  He once threw out 3 runners at home plate from the outfield in a single game a record that stands intact.  Another fielding feat from Hoy (pardon the alliteration) was his 45 (some accounts 40) assists from the outfield in 1894  another record.  Hoy was a fan favorite when he played with his home-Buckeye State Cincinnati club.  Being deaf, he was unable to hear the applause from the fans  fans reacted by waving hats and standing and waving – Deaf Applause ““ was probably developed to cheer for Hoy.
Also, Hoy is responsible for developing the various hand signals used in baseball today.  The umpires strike, out, safe signals were all used for his benefit and hearing players found benefit in the use so the signals stayed.  Also, managers and catchers and third base coach’s signals all trace their origin from the teams he was playing on.  Managers would send Hoy signals, and being the quarterback of the 1890’s Red’s outfield, he would relay those instructions to other fielders.  The same simple bunt, take pitch, make contact signals that are now used for batters before almost every pitch were first used by managers and coaches giving him instructions at the plate.
Hoy retired in 1902 with the AL Chicago White Sox.  He was a member of the Junior Circuit’s first Champion in 1901 with the Pale Hose.  He finished his career on the west coast with a Minor League team and then retired from baseball to a farm near his hometown in Ohio.  Apart from his fielding stats, his most impressive career number is his +/- 600 stolen bases.  This ranks him 17th on the all time list.

William Dummy Hoy Career Stats

Year Ag Tm  Lg  G   AB    R    H   2B 3B  HR  RBI  SB CS  BB  SO   BA   OBP   SLG   TB   SH  SF IBB HBP GDP
+————–+—+—-+—-+—-+—+–+—+—-+—+–+—+—+—–+—–+—–+—-+—+—+—+—+—+
1888 26 WHS NL 136  503   77  138  10  8   2   29  82     69  48  .274  .374  .338  170              11
1889 27 WHS NL 127  507   98  139  11  6   0   39  35     75  30  .274  .374  .320  162               6
1890 28 BUF PL 122  493  107  147  17  8   1   53  39     94  36  .298  .418  .371  183               8
1891 29 STL AA 141  567  136  165  14  5   5   66  59    119  25  .291  .424  .360  204              12
1892 30 WHS NL 152  593  108  166  19  8   3   75  60     86  23  .280  .375  .354  210               4
1893 31 WHS NL 130  564  106  138  12  6   0   45  48     66   9  .245  .337  .287  162              13
1894 32 CIN NL 126  495  114  148  22 13   5   70  27     87  18  .299  .416  .426  211              12
1895 33 CIN NL 107  429   93  119  21 12   3   55  50     52   8  .277  .363  .403  173   3           6
1896 34 CIN NL 121  443  120  132  23  7   4   57  50     65  13  .298  .403  .409  181  33          13
1897 35 CIN NL 128  497   87  145  24  6   2   42  37     54      .292  .375  .376  187  23          12
1898 36 LOU NL 148  582  104  177  15 16   6   66  37     49      .304  .367  .416  242  19           9
1899 37 LOU NL 154  633  116  194  17 13   5   49  32     61      .306  .376  .398  252  15          10
1901 39 CHW AL 132  527  112  155  28 11   2   60  27     86      .294  .407  .400  211  14          14
1902 40 CIN NL  72  279   48   81  15  2   2   20  11     41      .290  .389  .380  106  12           4
+————–+—+—-+—-+—-+—+–+—+—-+—+–+—+—+—–+—–+—–+—-+—+—+—+—+—+
14 Seasons         7112      2044    121      726      0     210  .287  .386  .373      119   0   0 134   0
1796      1426      248     40      594   1004                       2654

Written By

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  • Do you see Hoy as a HOF candidate? His stats are pretty decent and he ranked in the top 10 in times on base 7 times in his career.

  • Early

    HE had made some appearances on the VC ballots. I would say, I see him as a candidate, but I have to compare him more to his contemporaries that the VC has put in. His fielding and baserunning and OBA are going to be hard to beat for other stars of the 1890s.

  • Steve

    You are pretty much correct about Dummy Hoy, having been a researcher on Dummy Hoy for the past 16 years, I find him very interesting and more to find. If you can, send me your email and I will announce a day after the World Series to get Dummy Hoy’s name recognized via either hand written (with letterhead – required) or email to the Veterans Committee. Yes, Hoy’s name is on the ballot but with 259 other players/names vying to be selected and induct. Also I am working on to create a documentary with a producer and a feature film in the works but funding and investors is serious needed.

  • stephen hall

    I find Dummy Hoy an interesting figure. Could you recommend any other sources that would lend more information. Thank you.

    Sincerely,
    Stephen Hall

  • Steve Sandy

    Currently that a documentary will be released by 31 Dec 2007 called “Dummy Hoy: A Deaf Hero” with deaf actors/actress. Then if funding comes in, then we could produce the feature film and the film be released in the Spring of 2008, “The Silent Natural” – The Dummy Hoy Story.

  • Steve

    Wish to correct, Dummy Hoy didn’t get to the Senators till 1888 instead of 1886 as the first paragraph mentioned. He was with the Oshkosh from 1886 to 1887.
    Feb 23rd, Tuesday the National Statuary Hall Committee in Columbus Ohio will vote and select 10 names out of 50 for consideration for the statue that will be placed there in Washington, D.C.
    Check the link, http://www.legacyforohio.org, click Blog, H and Hoy then input your comments. Do pass it out to others. There need more comments on Dummy Hoy.

  • Regret to inform you that Dummy Hoy did not get selected to the top 10 for statue consideration.

  • Joey Schumacher

    As a deaf person raised by deaf parents and an avid collector of deafness-related sports memorabilia, I wish to make the following observations:

    1. We, as deaf people, really screwed up at the Induction Rally. We can be, and should be sorry we interrupted such solemn festivities made up of such distinguishable persons in the history of the game. Who started the chanting? Stooooopid!

    2. Hoy was outstandiong. Outstanding for his time, deaf or hearing, with incredible contributions made to the game, not just because he was Hoy, but just by being a deaf element at the major league level. Others were using signs before him (such as at schools for the deaf which had baseball teams). Whether the signs were unique to Hoy or were the source of later or current signs is irreelevant. He was a DEAF MAN playing a HEARING game and playing it well.

    3. Hoy does not belong in the Hall of Fame because of his own accomplishments alone. A lot of great things have happened and will continue to happen as baseball grows and shrinks and revolves. But Hoy does belong in the Hall of Fame because he is THE icon of success in the world for deaf persons (whether Marlee Matlin or Heather Whitestone or Curtis Pride compares is irrelevant) and it isn’t just Hoy who belongs in the Hall of Fame. Its all of us. All deaf people. We all belong in the Hall. Baseball was meant for all of us. And with apologies to the Veterans Committee, please make a special exemption, or accomodation, for all deaf people who have been players and fans (there have been over 30 players and coaches with hearing loss active in the game and tens of thousands of fans.

    As with other deaf people, I am not going to protest Hoy being left out of the Hall. Not my fight. But I love baseball and it would touch my heart to see Hoy make the Hall. So please, guys, just one reasonable accomodation from such a huge, wealthy sport.

    Hoy in the Hall!

    Joey Schumacher
    aka deafcollector (on eBay!)