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April 12, 2005

Hoy Classic honors memory of deaf player

From: The Argus, CA - Apr 12, 2005

By Steve R. Waterhouse, STAFF WRITER,

WE'RE LEAPING out of the Mission Valley Athletic League this week because The Mustard thought the Tri-City area should know about something special going on at the California School for the Deaf.

CSD will host the Hoy Classic V, a four-team baseball and softball tournament. In addition to the Fremont school, other schools for the deaf participating include Riverside, Maryland and Model Secondary (Washington, D.C.).

Events get under way Thursday night with the home run derby at 7. On the baseball side, CSD's Michael Lizarraga and Nick Hickman will be competing. Doing the pitching for the home run derby will be former Oakland A's pitcher Mark Acre, a friend of CSD athletic director Mark Burke.

Jenna Ingraham and Alexa Miller will represent CSD in the softball home run derby.

Games begin on Friday at

9 a.m. when CSD takes on Riverside in baseball and softball. Friday is a round-robin event, and the single-elimination bracket begins on Saturday at

9 a.m. The championship softball game will be at 5:30 p.m. and the baseball final at 7.

Since few people outside the deaf community know the history of the Hoy Classic, The Mustard figured it would do a little research.

William Ellsworth "Dummy" Hoy (1862-1961) was the first deaf player in the major leagues. All of 5-foot-4 and 150 pounds, he played professional baseball from 1888-1903 for six teams. He finished his career with a .287 batting average,

2,044 hits, 1,426 runs and 594 stolen bases.

In addition to some very decent statistics, some historians credit Hoy with creating umpires' signals for balls and strikes and safe and out calls. However, others credit Hall of Fame umpire Bill Klem — who came along in 1905 — with those creations.

There have been several pushes to get Hoy into the Hall of Fame, but to no avail. The deaf community hopes this is one way to keep his name in the public for future consideration by the Veterans Committee.

"I think he should be in the Hall of Fame," Burke said through an e-mail. "Not only for his stats, but for being instrumental in the strike, ball and out signals. The deaf community hopes he gets into the Hall of Fame."

In 1951, Hoy was the first inductee into the American Athletic Association of the Deaf's Hall of Fame. In October 1961, at the age of 99, Hoy threw out the ceremonial first pitch

before the third game of the World Series between the Cincinnati Reds and New York Yankees.

Hoy died from a stroke on Dec.15, 1961, six months before his 100th birthday.

LIGHTS IN TIME: In addition to hosting the Hoy Classic V, CSD will also enjoy playing under the lights for the first time. The project has been in the works for over seven years.

The project to install the lights started last fall with the transformer and wiring being put in the ground. In March, the holes were dug in for the pole base to be put in.

On April 1, a helicopter was brought in to hoist the light poles into the pole base. Last week, the lights were connected to the wirings and transformer.

All but four bulbs are working, and that should be taken care of by Wednesday. CSD will have its first practice under the lights on Wednesday.

NCS PREVIEW? Forget the Standley Cup or even the Livermore Stampede for that matter. The top non-league softball games will be played Saturday at Newark Memorial.

The Cougars are hosting a three-team showcase. The first game will be Newark vs. Freedom at 11 a.m. Newark will then play Arroyo at 1 p.m. and the event will wrap up with an Arroyo-Freedom game at 3 p.m.

All three teams had scheduling openings due to recent rainouts.

Freedom is the East Bay's top-ranked team. Newark is No.7, and Arroyo is No.10. In the Standley Cup tournament over spring break, Arroyo beat Newark 1-0 in a thriller.

If you haven't seen Freedom's Amanda Williams yet, here's your chance. A junior, Williams has led the Falcons to back-to-back North Coast Section titles.

Last year Freedom beat Newark in the NCS 3-A title game 1-0 in eight innings. You can figure Saturday's games will be nothing less than great.

The Mustard can be reached at or by calling (510) 353-7024.