Silent Star: The Story of Deaf Major Leaguer William Hoy

by Bill Wise and Adam Gustavson

Deaf after a bout of meningitis at age three, William Hoy attended the Ohio School... read more

Deaf after a bout of meningitis at age three, William Hoy attended the Ohio School for the Deaf and then became a shoemaker after graduation from high school. His childhood obsession with playing baseball became an occasional backyard game behind his shoemaker shop, until the day the coach of an amateur team happened to see him play. At first put off by William’s attempts to communicate in sign language, the coach returned to offer him a spot on the team in writing. William went on to play for a minor league team in Oshkosh, before moving up to the Washington Nationals. Defying the commonly held belief that he couldn’t make it in baseball as a deaf player, William created methods to get around the sport’s traditional reliance on the spoken word. His use of visual cues from his third-base coach is believed by some historians to have led to the creation of hand signals by umpires. When he retired after an extended and successful career as the first deaf player in the major leagues, William Hoy became an Ohio dairy farmer who never lost his devotion to the game. (Ages 7–10)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2013

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