State Rep. David Leland (D-Columbus) will testify today on House Bill (HB) 417, his legislation to designate May 23 as William Hoy Day in Ohio. Hoy, a native of Hancock County, is often referred to as a pioneer for deaf and disabled athletes after a successful career in Major League Baseball.
“William ‘Dummy’ Hoy is the embodiment of someone who refused to let their disability define them. In an era when disabled people were often treated as second-class citizens or worse, ‘Dummy’ Hoy overcame his disability to become one of the best baseball players in the world, and he remains a sports icon in the deaf community today,” said Rep. Leland.
Hoy, only the third-ever deaf player in the Major Leagues, and the most successful, starred for the Cincinnati Reds in the 1890s, amassing more than 2,000 hits and a .287 lifetime batting average. Hoy was inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame in 2003, and a motion picture about his life – The Silent Natural – was released this year and was featured in a screening at the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Today, at Gallaudet University – the only higher education institution in the world in which all programs are specifically designed for students with hearing disabilities – the baseball field is named in Hoy’s honor.
Leland’s testimony is scheduled during Wednesday’s State and Local Government Committee meeting at 2:30 p.m. It can be streamed live at www.OhioChannel.org.