Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., —the world’s largest information center, where I go there once in a while to visit and learn, and found an exhibition to visit called, “Baseball Americana” inside Library of Congress, more specifically South Gallery on second floor, Thomas Jefferson Building, so I decided to visit the exhibition last September 2018 and found something missing—critical information.
There is no information about William E. “Dummy” Hoy, a professional baseball player who influenced the Baseball America in a positive image. Hoy played professional baseball from 1882 to 1902, where he was part of two Washington, D.C. franchises. Washington Nationals and Washington Senators.
Washington, D.C. is also one of the world’s largest Deaf communities, and it was a huge deal for Deaf community in DC to witness Hoy as the first Deaf baseball player to play. I cannot imagine the joy of Deaf people that time knowing it was history in the making. It will never be replaced. He was the reason why the invention of signals for safe and out calls were very much part of Baseball America. The statistics Hoy created was beyond impressive with records that may not ever broken. Without his name being appear in the exhibition is a great loss for Deaf Americans.
In the literature of Baseball American stories, Dummy Hoy is being shunned and becomes a mysterious motto, which is forever enshrined. Cooperstown in New York where baseball hall of fame is located, Hoy is still shunned from America’s “National Game” legends. Failing research on Hoy supremely suits library of Congress, mother of all libraries. It is also the place where researchers, scholars, and information seekers to study and find the knowledge. Should Hoy be part of Baseball Americana exhibition at Library of Congress? Yes, I believe so.
On the Library of Congress website, Baseball Americana writes about exhibition what it would offer: “Baseball Americana features items from the Library of Congress collections and those of its lending partners to consider the game then and now—as it relates to players, teams, and the communities it creates. Although baseball has stayed true to many of its customs, it has also broken with tradition through the invention, competition, and financial interests that still make it the most played sport in the country.”
‘Broken with tradition through the invention’–It is difficult knowing that Hoy’s name was taken out of picture, and knowing the hearing privileges is really an outward facing ‘forgotten stories’—the line is still blurry and series of denials why Hoy is not recognized.
There is plenty of history information about Dummy Hoy. For example, few movies, like “Dummy Hoy: A Deaf Hero”, “Silent Natural”, and several books, like “Dummy Hoy: The life, legend, and colorful legacy of the first deaf major-leaguer” cannot be ignored. It brings broad and meaningful engagement, and brings Hoy to the face of public information to be inclusive and generate as much information sharing as possible without descending into lack of information.
Those information connected to those questions, including why it is not being displayed at Library of Congress, the same place, Washington, DC, and the world’s only university for the Deaf, feels invisible again and again. The real work comes once the truth is complete. Giving baseball enthusiasts to know the right information, empowering baseball stories to demand change. It is a winning strategy. It is a path to recognize Hoy’s name to build knowledge. From there, the path of resistance will make all the difference. Baseball Americana is not the same without William E. “Dummy” Hoy.
Copyright © 2020 Jason Tozier
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