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William Hoy: Creating New Signs for New Situations

The arrival of spring not only means warmer temperatures, blooming flowers, and longer daylight hours, it also signals the beginning of the baseball season.

For more than a century, baseball has been considered the great American pastime. Whether it’s the game itself or simply sitting out in the sunshine with a hot dog in one hand and a bag of peanuts in the other, there is something both rich and nostalgic about the experience.

Often referred to as “the perfect game”, those who are deeply devoted to baseball love it for the strategic elements as well as the precision the game demands. And not only is precision required in the physical aspects of the game, but also in the mental as baseball involves an intricate system of signs, signals, and covert communication.

This communication exists on a number of levels but one of the more obvious forms of communication takes place between the umpires and the rest of the participants including players, managers, and spectators.

It is very important that the umpires be both confident and clear with the calls they make such as “ball”, “strike”, and of course, “safe” or “out”.

Have you ever found yourself watching your favorite team and at the same time wondering about the origins of certain parts of the game?

Take for example the signals for “safe” and “out”. Where did those come from?

Well, to the surprise of many fans, the development of those signals is attributed to a man named William Hoy. Hoy played from 1899-1920 and is considered to be the greatest Deaf player of all time.

Hoy’s teammates included all-time greats Connie Mack, Charlie Comiskey, and Honus Wagner but Hoy more then held his own among those pioneers of the game.

In fact, after a 21 year career, Hoy retired with a .287 batting average, 2044 hits, 1426 runs, 726 runs batted in, 248 doubles, 121 triples and 40 home runs.

Though he was an incredible player by any objective standard, Hoy was also a forerunner.  Living in an era where people assumed if you had deafness you were also of low intelligence, Hoy was known as one of the more intelligent players in the league and he used his sharp mind to innovate, developing the signals that have since become an integral part of the game.

Here at DSU, we believe we follow in William Hoy’s footsteps.

Language is always alive and always changing. As new signs are being created to adapt to new situations, we strive to incorporate that vocabulary when it’s appropriate.

Whether it’s the ever-evolving specialized vocabularies in the fields of education, medicine, or pharmaceuticals, or the constantly changing world of “slang”, DSU is leading the way.

Even though we have been around for two decades, we aren’t content to rest on our laurels; instead we are always pushing the envelope in the hopes of creating positive, lasting change for those we serve.

Here at DSU, we don’t just want to make the team, we want to be All-Stars!