HOW A MUTE PLAYS BALL.

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, January 5, 1902 – Page 22

LINK TO ORIGINAL ARTICLE

“Dummy” Hoy Says He Must Depend Entirely on His Eyes.

“There are three departments in baseball to be considered – batting, baserunning and fielding, not to mention “baseball sense,” as it is called, or the instinct without which one can not be a successful player,” writes “Dummy” Hoy, the deafmute baseball player.

“In batting there is really little handicap for a mute. I can see the ball as well as others, and my teammates tell me whether a ball or a strike is called by using the left fingers for balls and the right fingers for strikes. I am called a “waiter,” which means that I try a good deal to get a base on balls. I think , perhaps, the fact that I have to depend so much on my eyes helps me in judging what the umpire will call a strike, and if the ball delivered is a little off I wait for four bad ones.

“In base running the signals of the hit and run game and other strategies are mostly silent, the same as for the other players. By a further system of signs my teammates keep me posted on how many are out and what is going on about me. Similarly they do all they can to help me and make it pleasant for me, both on and off the field. Because I can not hear the coaching I have acquired the habit of running with my neck twisted to watch the progress of the ball. I think most players depend too much on the coachers and often a man is coached along too far or not far enough, when, if he knew where the ball was himself, he would know what chances were best for him to take.

“In judging fly balls I depend on sight alone and must keep my eye constantly on the batsman to watch for a possible fly, since I can not hear the crack of the bat. This alertness, I think , helps me in other departments of the game. So it may be seem, the handicaps of a deaf ball player are minimized.

“I am a right-handed thrower and left-handed batter. I have always batted left-handed, but did not learn the trick to bring me nearest first base. I was brought up on a farm and when a boy always chopped wood from the left side. That made me a left-handed hitter.

“Although there are ball teams at nearly all the deaf and dumb schools in the country, comparatively few players drift into the professional ranks. New York has a mute pitcher named Taylor, and there is Kihm a good first baseman in the New York State League team, but those are the only other professional players I know. The Jacksonville school, in this state, had a good team, and in the four schools of York state there are 12 clubs. In 1889 the Columbus school had a mute team which traveled over the country and won two-thirds of the games.

“If I may be said to have a hobby in connection with baseball it is the subject of food. My home is in Cincinnati, but when I am playing in another city, I always stop at a good hotel or boarding house where the food is good and wholesome, so as to keep my stomach in proper condition. Unless your stomach is all right you can not see as well or so clearly, and your batting falls off in consequence.

“My wife and I always room on the ground or first floor, because in case of fire we would not be able to hear the alarm. She, too, is deaf, but speaks plainly, and is considered one of the most expert lip readers in the country. She attends many of the games when I play.”

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