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How a Deaf Baseball Player Changed the Game

by Nancy Churnin ; illustrated by Jez Tuya

Pub Date: March 1st, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-8075-9192-5
Publisher: Whitman

William Hoy was a talented, hard-playing major league baseball player who had a profound effect on the manner in which the game is played.

He played from 1888-1902, amassing an impressive record in both fielding and hitting. In the vernacular of the times he was known as “Dummy” Hoy because he was deaf, but it was also how he referred to himself. He could read lips and write notes, but there were many challenges to overcome. When he was up at bat, he could not tell whether a ball or strike was called because, in those days, umpires shouted their calls and, of course, Hoy could not hear them. He worked out a system of arm signals to call balls and strikes, safe and out, based on American Sign Language, and convinced the umpires to use his method. His career took off, and soon these signals became the norm for all baseball games and remain in use today. The fans learned to wave their arms so he would know they were cheering for him. Churnin tells Hoy’s story in sprightly, descriptive language that reaches to the heart of his courage and ingenuity. Tuya’s bright, flat, cartoon-simple illustrations complement the text perfectly, deftly capturing the era, Hoy’s emotional ups and downs, and his determination and spirit.

A moving tribute to a true hero.

(biographical information, timeline, acknowledgements) (Picture book. 5-9)