Clipped From The Daily Spectrum
'Dummy' Hoy story takes to stage CHICAGO (UPI) Base- from 1886 until he retired "He was an outstanding TV's Game of theweek ai CHICAGO (UPI) -Base ball has an extensive sign language all its own. Coaches flash signs to hitters and base runners. Catchers signal to pitchers. Umpires use their arms to punctuate calls of safe and out on the basepaths and for strikes to batters at the. plate. All this, which makes the game so accessible to a deaf person, was no accident. Baseball historians say the first of these signs were created by major-league baseball's first deaf player. "The Signal Season of Dummy Hoy," a new play written by Chicagoans Allen Meyer and Michael No-wak, tells a portion of the life story of William "Dummy" Hoy, the first deaf man to play major-league baseball. Hoy, who was a deaf-mute, played baseball from 1886 until he retired from the Cincinnati Reds in 1902. Meyer "discovered" Hoy while watching a sign language children's program with his deaf daughter. "I was fascinated," said Meyer. "Combining the fact that I have a deaf daughter with the fact that a deaf baseball player invented the umpire signing, it is a genuinely wonderful story." Meyer contacted Hoy's only living daughter, Clo--ver Skaggs, and his grandson, Judson Hoy, and did two years of research before teaming with Nowak to write the play, which opened May 6 at Chicago's Commons Theatre. Meyer and Nowak have worked hard to publicize the play, obviously for their own gains but also with Hoy's legend in mind. ballplayer," said Meyer. "He played 14 years; by his statistics alone he should be in the Hall of Fame. The fact that he invented the umpire signing should definitely merit him a spot in the Hall of Fame." "In 1888, he led the National League in stolen bases (82) in his rookie year," said Nowak. "That is one of the reasons we're pushing for the Hall of Fame because 1888 is obviously the 100th anniversary of his breaking into (major-league) baseball." Hoy had a career batting average of .288 and stole 597 bases. He was in the majors for 12 seasons and once batted against baseball's first deaf pitcher, Luther "Dummy" Taylor. ' Meyer and Nowak have Eotten Hoy mentioned in ports Illustrated, on NBC- TV's Game Of theWpob anrl on the popular syndicated show "This Week in Baseball." The play concentrates on Hoy's four months with a minor league team in Osh-kosh, Wis., in 1886. According to the writers' research, it was then that the invention of umpire signs came about. "We decided to concentrate on that because that seems to be the hook, or the key interest, where baseball in concerned," said Nowak. "He came up from Ohio by himself and at the time the sensitivity toward the deaf was not great "He went to Milwaukee and apparently was offered a contract after a try out but he decided it was not enough money and told them he was going to go home."