Matthew Scott Moore

Dedication of Hoy Field
at Gallaudet University

On April 7, 2001, Gallaudet University formally dedicated its baseball diamond as “Hoy Field,” to honor the memory of William Ellsworth “Dummy” Hoy, the first deaf major-leaguer. Matthew, who chairs the Hoy Committee, which is lobbying to have have Hoy inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, was invited to give a brief talk at the dedication.

It is known that Hoy visited the campus in 1888, during his stint with the Washington Nationals (also known as the Senators). He was impressed with the beauty of the campus, and enjoyed meeting students there. He may have participated in a game or two on this same field, which has been in continuous use since the campus was laid out in the mid-1860s. This would make Hoy Field one of the very few diamonds where Hoy played that are still in existence.

Hoy never had the opportunity to attend the college, but would have likely proved to be an excellent student. Charles Warren Carraway, a Gallaudet student-journalist who interviewed him in 1888, reported that he admired the college and may have entertained some wistful thoughts, but appeared to be content with his career as a baseball player. Hoy was serious and passionate and baseball, and was happiest when he was outfielding, although the Washingtons were a notoriously weak team.

Matthew received this plaque as a token of thanks for his work in publicizing Hoy’s career and achievements. The well-known studio photograph of Hoy, from an Old Judge tobacco card, was taken during his rookie year with the Washingtons in 1888.

Miriam Skaggs, Hoy’s granddaughter-in-law, flew in from California to attend the ceremony. She posed with Dr. I. King Jordan, President of Gallaudet University, proudly holding her plaque. Miriam is married to Carson Skaggs, one of three sons of Hoy’s younger daughter Clover.

Mrs. Skaggs also posed with Matthew on the happy occasion. Matthew is working on the first full-scale biography of Hoy, and Hoy’s family has been extremely helpful—sharing information, photographs, and leads. Naturally, they’re enthusiastic partisans of the campaign to have Hoy inducted into the Hall of Fame.

After the game (Gallaudet Bisons vs. Christendom College Crusaders), Matthew enjoyed a chat with Dr. Jordan, an old acquaintance.

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