Jan 13, 2013

Never Too Soon for Baseball... or Too Late!

All it takes is a few days of mild January weather and some media buzz about the Baseball Hall of Fame votes and I can't resist sharing a title that was simmering on the back burner waiting for "real" spring. I was especially motivated to spread the word about this title now by the news note that  the Baseball Veterans Committee approved White, Ruppert and O’Day (a player, an owner, and an umpire)  for Hall of Fame Posthumous induction.

Lee & Low Books, Inc 2012

So, for 2014, may I offer for your consideration... ta-da!
SILENT STAR: THE STORY OF DEAF MAJOR LEAGUER WILLIAM HOY, by Bill Wise, illustrated by Adam Gustavson
Baseball is a game of statistics, so let's start with notes from the afterward:
 "Of the tens of thousands of players who have made careers in major league baseball, William Ellsworth "Dummy" Hoy* (1862-1961) ranks in the top twenty-five in all-time career statistics: stolen bases, outfielder assists, double-plays by an outfielder." 
His stats continue in this informative section, and his accomplishments continue to amaze, standing up after nearly a century of competition. He was inducted in the Ohio Baseball hall of Fame in 1992 and the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame in 2003. In The Sporting News in 1961 (at the time of his death) Pat Harmon wrote, "His record was remarkable. In black and white, it stands with the best of all time."

Fifty-one years later, his numbers stand tall at the top of baseball's best. And yet, in this game of statistics, this sport of numbers and career records, he is not in the Baseball Hall of Fame- yet.

He was, however, among the first five people entered into the American Athletic Association of the Deaf's Hall of Fame. Although born with the ability to hear, William nearly died of meningitis at the age of three. When he recovered, the high fever left him unable to hear well enough to understand speech so he never developed the ability to speak intelligibly.

At age ten when he  attended a school for the deaf he learned to sign and finally made friends. Mostly, he played and loved baseball. He ate, slept, and dreamed baseball, even though the only deaf major leaguer at the time was a pitcher and William was an outfielder. 

The excerpts and quotations above make it clear Hoy did not settle for dreams deferred. His is a story waiting for a groundswell of growing awareness, possibly fueled by social media and a kids' letter-writing campaign. When the sports writers vote next year, again likely snubbing the steroid-tainted candidates, the name William "Dummy" Hoy should make its way into the discussion, guaranteeing that he will finally get full recognition for accomplishing his baseball dreams. 

Read some of the many outstanding Kirkus and Goodreads reviews of this book.

**The author points out that calling someone who was unable to speak "dumb" was conventional at that time, and Hoy preferred the nickname "Dummy" to his own name.

The name of last week's giveaway winner can be found here.

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