Baseball and ASL:
By Janet Welch
The final out and the curse is over. The
Boston Red Sox won the World Series, beating the St. Louis Cardinals in four
straight games. The final out was a ground ball back to the pitcher, he
ran towards first, and then flipped the ball to the first basemen. The
umpire gave the universal sign for “out”, and the game was over.
The signs used in baseball are credited to an umpire named Bill
He started his professional career in 1905. A plaque in National Baseball
Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York credits Mr. Klem with inventing the
signs. Many seem to disagree with crediting Mr. Klem.
William Ellsworth “Dummy” Hoy was a tremendous baseball player
from the late 1800’s. Many feel he should be in the Hall of Fame. He is
still in the top 25 on the all time stolen base list. He led the league in
walks and was credited with the first grand slam hit in the majors. He has
a long list of outstanding achievements on the ball field. He was also
deaf. Researchers have found many references to the signs used in baseball
being credited to Hoy. (www.baseballcrank.com/archives/001224.php)
One of the most compelling pieces of evidence is written accounts by his
roommate, Sam Crawford. He and others claim it was Hoy who had the umpires
use signals so he would know what was going on. Hoy was an outfielder and
Crawford also described how he would call the ball in the outfield with a
strong squeaking noise.
Another deaf baseball player that had tremendous success on the
field was Luther Taylor. Taylor played for the New York Giants. He was a
pitcher, and helped the Giants win the pennants in 1904 and 1905. They also
won the World Series in 1905. A story was told of how Taylor wore big
rubber boots onto the field on a very rainy day. He signed to a teammate
that the umpire should call the game because of rain and got a big laugh
from the team. The umpire came over and threw him out of the game, signing
to him that he was also fining him $25.00. (www.ed3.gallaudet.edu/diversity/BGG/First%20Deaf/Athletics.html)
Edward Dundon was another good player who played for the Atlanta
Braves. His claim to fame may be that he later became an umpire and was
probably the first professional deaf umpire. A recent deaf player that
accounted for himself well, playing on several teams was Curtis Pride. (www.deafness.about.com)
We may want to keep an eye on a young pitcher in the Seattle Mariner farm
system by the name of Ryan Ketchner. He is a left handed pitcher. He uses
hearing aides that help him detect vibrations, not to understand words. He
is a good pitcher and a very talented lip reader. (www.msmproductionsltd.com/media_releases/017dummyhoy)
Also see: "Dummy Hoy"
Also see: "Baseball"
Also see: "Baseball and ASL"
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