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William "Dummy" Hoy, Oldest Former Major League Ballplayer, Dead at 99

Dec. 15, 1961 - William “Dummy” Hoy (pictured throwing out the first pitch at Game 3 of this year’s World Series), the oldest former major league baseball player, died today in Cincinnati’s Christ Hospital at the age of 99. William Ellsworth Hoy, a deaf-mute from birth, was born in Houckstown, Ohio, in 1862. He began his major league career in 1888 with Washington, then in the National League. He had his best year in 1898 with the Louisville Colonels, when he hit .318. When asked how his inability to hear affected him as a ballplayer, Hoy once remarked, “I found it no handicap. The yelling of the opposition was useless as far as I was concerned.” Hoy made his final public appearance in last October’s world series, when the Cincinnati Reds, who were playing the Yankees, invited him to throw out the first ball of the third game as the series moved into Cincinnati. Hoy is survived by a son, a daughter, seven grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.

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