Media Releases

November 14, 1999


A new homepage focusing on William Ellsworth "Dummy" Hoy (1862--1961), the first deaf major-leaguer, is now online. It’s sponsored by, a division of MSM Productions, Ltd.

Hoy is a legendary figure in the Deaf community. He is considered the originator of the hand signals used by umpires throughout the world: raising the right hand for a strike, the left hand for a ball, and the signs for "out" and "safe." Some baseball historians still consider this claim to be hearsay, folklore, or myth. Umpire Bill Klem, who began his professional career in 1905, 2 years after Hoy retired from professional baseball, is officially credited with inventing the signals, as noted on his plaque in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. But diligent research has turned up old newspaper and magazine accounts describing Hoy’s use of signs on the field as early as 1888 and 1891—well before Klem began umpiring!

During his rookie year in the major leagues, Hoy stole a league-high number of 82 bases. He was also the first outfielder to throw three baserunners out at home plate in a single game. He accomplished this feat on June 19, 1888. He hit the first grand slam in the newly-established American League (May 1, 1901). He was a superb outfielder, and there are several authenticated accounts of his speed, strength, and skill in the field. His statistics are noteworthy. In 1961, when he was 99, he threw out the first ball of the third game of the World Series in Cincinnati’s Crosley Field. And he lived to be almost 99-1/2 years old.

While these achievements (and these are only a few of the total) would seem to be more than sufficient for induction into the Hall of Fame, Hoy has been consistently bypassed. Why? Probably because he was deaf.

The Website contains an overview of Hoy’s career, detailed career statistics, comparison of his numbers with those of Hall of Famers, quotations from Hall of Famers and historians, and will also feature news and campaign updates from the USA Deaf Sports Federation’s Committee for Dummy Hoy. Later, there will be information on other deaf players, such as Edward Joseph "Dummy" Dundon (1858-1893) of the Columbus Buckeyes, Luther Haden "Dummy" Taylor (1875-1958) of the New York Giants, and Richard Sipek, who outfielded for the Cincinnati Reds (Hoy’s old team) in 1945.

Visitors can learn about Hoy, the case for his induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and his importance as a deaf achiever, sports hero, and good citizen. The Hoy Website will give fans, baseball buffs, and Deaf Sports advocates an opportunity to network, educate the general public about Hoy’s career and achievements, and to promote and gather support for the cause: getting Hoy into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

A new full-length biography of Hoy is being put together by Deaf Life Press, and is previewed on the site. Visitors can order a copy in advance.

Visit the "Hoy Homeplate" at

Other Websites include,,, and Coming up: and


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