I have a new book coming out November 12th, called “Pioneers of Baseball”. Here’s more about that here:
Back to Hoy. He played for the Cincinnati Reds and two Washington D.C. teams. He was a deaf center fielder. Getting through everyday life as a ballplayer was hard enough in those days. Being deaf didn’t make things easier.
The nickname was mean spirited but it was emblematic of the times and it stuck. He may have been the person who developed hand signals for umpires. It’s hard to pin down but it does make sense.
The Cincinnati Reds invited him back to the 1961 World Series at Crosley Field and at the age of 99 he threw out the first pitch in Game 3. He was born in Ohio and a few months later he died in Ohio.
Until 1920 he held the record for games played in center field with 1,726. He had other outfield records as well. When he retired he was second in career walks with 1,004. That’s an important stat because he is currently eighth on the all-time NL steals list with 567. He’s ahead of Ozzie Smith, as an example.
He had a .386 lifetime on-base percentage and a .288 lifetime batting average. He had 40 home runs playing with a dead ball and 725 RBI.
Considering he was deaf and he played in the dead-ball era, his numbers are more productive than Bill Mazeroski.
There is a website dedicated to him.
He’s in the Reds Hall of Fame. I’m hoping more people petition for him especially those in the BBWA.