William Ellsworth “Dummy Hoy, born on May 23, 1862 in Houcktown, Ohio, was an accomplished Major League Baseball center fielder. Hoy was deaf from the age of three onwards, eventually graduating as class valedictorian the Ohio State School for the Deaf. Hoy opened a shoe repair store in his hometown, playing baseball on the weekends until earning a professional contract in 1886 for a team in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Notably, Hoy is the most accomplished deaf played in MLB history, proudly bearing his nickname “Dummy,” going as far as to correct people who called him “William.” Though disputed, some credit Hoy with the development of hand signals used by umpires to this day. Hoy’s legacy endures through the William “Dummy” Hoy Baseball Field at Gallaudet University, and his life has been the subject of several documentaries. Hoy died on December 15, 1961 and his ashes were scattered at Lytle Park in Cincinnati.
William “Dummy” Hoy was made a Great Ohioan in 2019.