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The William Hoy Story

We’re here in Detroit at Comerica Park for the Tiger’s opening day!


Baseball has long been considered the most popular sport in America, but did you know that a Deaf baseball player, William Hoy, often referred to as, Dummy Hoy, influenced how the game is played today.


He wasn’t able to communicate with his teammates or umpires, so he taught them how to use hand signals. Although he didn’t create every hand signal, he used them on the field long before anyone else.  


A new book just came out called “The William Hoy Story,” a children’s book written by Nancy Churnin and illustrated by Jez Tuya. The book tells the story of Dummy Hoy’s life, and how he made his way into Baseball.


Steve Sandy:

If not for Hoy, baseball games would only be called with voices. Everyone, and I mean everyone, hearing and Deaf would not be able to follow the game. With huge stadiums, people in the back wouldn’t be able to hear, but they can see the signaling clearly. That is important to the game, and important to Hoy to be able to play baseball and be able to follow along. Also, Deaf players can also follow along today. That’s why it’s very important to the game.


So how did this book come to be? We reached out to Nancy the author to learn more.


Nancy Churnin:

The person who inspired me to write a children’s book about Dummy Hoy was Steve Sandy. I had written a small article for the Dallas Morning News about a play that had come to town called The Signal Season of Dummy Hoy! And I got a thank you note from Steve Sandy, and, it was an email, and I emailed him back, and I said well I’m glad you liked what I wrote but why is someone from OHIO interested in a story that ran in the Dallas Morning News?! And Steve explained to me that he was deaf, and that, his dream is to get Dummy Hoy into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. And we started emailing back and forth and the more I communicated with Steve the more I realized he was RIGHT! Dummy Hoy SHOULD be in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. And I thought, how can I help? And then I got the idea, what if I write a children’s book, the children will help. I asked Steve if he would provide the research for me, and he did, and he is a friend of, of William Hoy’s family, got me all copies of wonderful letters, articles, umm…photos, it was fantastic! And we went back and forth for years on this project and finally the book has come out, and the children have taken it to their hearts, and it has, it has won some awards that have thrilled me, it made the, the New York Public Library Best Books for Kids 2016, The Texas Libraries Associations, um…two by two list and Topaz list, and Illinois uh Monarch Awards Masters list, but the best news of all is that more than 800 kids who have read the book have sent letters to the National Baseball Hall of Fame for William Hoy to BE in the Hall of Fame. And we wanna keep those letters coming in advance of the big vote in 2020.


For anyone who would like to know how to get the William Hoy book, it is so easy it is available on, on, at most independent book sellers, and also, at And the cool thing about going to, that’s my publisher, is that you can download a free teacher’s guide and guess what’s in that free teacher’s guide? Not only a lot of cool activities for both Deaf and hearing kids, but also the address of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and we hope you’ll use that to encourage the kids to write their letters to the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Hoy’s behalf.



Many people are trying to get Dummy Hoy inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. In his rookie year, he led the National League in stolen bases. In 1901, he led the American League in walks, and was nicknamed the “king of center field” for his ability to catch hard-to-reach fly balls.


Do you want to see him inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame? Send a letter explaining why.


Now, let’s play ball!


[National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

25 Main Street

Cooperstown, NY 13326]



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