Matthew Scott Moore

Democract and Chronicle
Rochester, N.Y., Wednesday, March 1, 2000,
Sports Section

Snub disappoints Hoy’s boosters

By Matt Leingang

Staff Writer, Democrat and Chronicle

Another year of passionate campaigning by Rochester’s deaf community failed to get William "Dummy" Hoy elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame yesterday.

Hoy, who played in the late 1800s and was the first deaf man to make the major leagues, was not among those elected by the Hall of Fame’s Veterans Committee.

Instead, the honor went to former manager Sparky Anderson, Negro Leagues star Turkey Steams and 19th century second baseman Bid McPhee.

It was disappointing news for Robert Panara, a Henrietta resident who spent recent weeks writing the Veterans Committee, urging Hoy’s induction.

He was joined by Rochesterians such as Ogden Whitehead, the Red Wings’ assistant director of administration.

"I’m dismayed, disillusioned and disgusted,’ said Panara, a retired professor with the National Technical Institute for the Deaf on the campus of the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Hoy, an Ohio native, is the subject of a biography that will be published this spring by Rochester author Matthew Moore.

In the book, Moore will argue that Hoy may have inspired umpires to use hand signals – derived from sign language – to indicate strikes, balls and outs.

Records show that Hoy’s coaches did give him hand signals, but his influence on umpires has not been validated by baseball historians.

The controversy will also be explored by Don Casper, a 31-year-old filmmaker from Rochester who is making a documentary about the origin of umpire hand signals.

"I am confident that one day, Hoy will be elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame," said Moore, whose company, MSM Productions, will publish the Hoy biography. "Until then, we’ll continue to educate the general public about Hoy’s importance to baseball history. Our work goes on."

Hoy hit .288 and collected 2,054 hits over 14 years, statistics that are similar to players already enshrined in Cooperstown. His 597 stolen bases still rank 17th in history.

Because the Veterans Committee uses a secret ballot, hiding the identity of players being considered, Hoy’s future chances at election are unpredictable.

Hoy will be remembered June 12 when Frontier Field hosts Dummy Hoy Night 2000, the second year that the Red Wings will offer a tribute to the city’s deaf community.

Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, N.Y., Wednesday, March 1, 2000, Sports section

Reprinted by permission.

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