The Silent Natural – Hoy for the Hall

Posted on June 08, 2019 | 22 Comments


I had never heard of William (Dummy*) Hoy.  But once I learned his inspirational true story, I knew I wanted to share it with as many people as possible.  We had the privilege of designing a baseball bat as part of the effort to raise awareness of his story in hopes to have him inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

When it came to baseball, William Hoy had a natural gift.  During his rookie year he led the National League in stolen bases.  But it was his disability that ultimately had the biggest impact on baseball.  William was deaf.  As it stands today, there are NO deaf baseball players in the baseball Hall of Fame.

During the 1880s, few people used sign language and certainly no one used it in baseball.  Imagine trying to play baseball when you can’t hear and are too far away to read the umpire’s lips.  Imagine other players (some of them on your own team) talking behind your back and hiding their mouths so you couldn’t read their lips.   On one particularly hard day, William let three pitches go by because he thought they were balls.  As he stood waiting for his next pitch, the pitcher started pointing and laughing and people in the stands started laughing as well. It was after that low-point William had an inspirational idea.  He wrote a note to the umpire and asked him to raise his right hand for a strike and his left hand for a ball.  He also asked him to use American Sign Language symbols for safe and out.  The use of these hand signals spread and soon his teammates, other teams, and even the fans began to rely on them as part of the game.  William was not the only person to introduce hand signals but he did work with umpires to develop a number of signs.

We believe William Hoy deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.  In 2018 he was selected as Most Overlooked 19th Century Baseball Legend.  In 2019, he was selected as the Great Ohioan Award by the Ohio Statehouse.  Nancy Churnin has written a children’s book titled The William Hoy Story in hopes that kids would help write letters to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.   A movie called The Silent Natural had a premier last weekend and is based on the life of William Hoy. Texas Timber has supported his Hall of Fame nomination by being a member of the Hoy for the Hall committee, being the lead designer of the Hoy for the Hall bat, donating a bat to the Gallaudet University baseball team and by being a constant voice for this baseball innovator, William Dummy Hoy. 

If you would like to write a letter to support William Hoy’s nomination to the Hall of Fame, please send a letter to the following address:

National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
25 Main Street,
Cooperstown, NY 13326

*During William’s time Dummy was a common name for people who were deaf and mute.  William who was proud of being deaf and referred to himself as Dummy.



If you would like to purchase a Hoy for the Hall baseball bat, click here to support our efforts to bring awareness to this special cause:

Hoy for the Hall Special Edition Bat




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