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The William Hoy Story: How a Deaf Baseball Player Changed the Game
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The William Hoy Story: How a Deaf Baseball Player Changed the Game

4.32  ·  Rating Details ·  154 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
All William Ellsworth Hoy wanted to do was play baseball. After losing out on a spot on the local deaf team, William practiced even harder eventually earning a position on a professional team. But his struggle was far from over. In addition to the prejudice Hoy faced, he could not hear the umpires' calls. One day he asked the umpire to use hand signals: strike, ball, out. ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published March 1st 2016 by Albert Whitman & Company
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Barb Middleton
A nice read aloud of how baseball incorporated American sign language for calls based on the deaf and mute baseball player William Hoy who came up with the idea after a bad experience. Good for discussions with children of any age. Hoy persevered in spite of many obstacles and was obviously a problem solver not one to feel sorry for himself. The illustrations add to the text and the author's notes and timeline are helpful for filling in gaps.
Bill Bickel
Mar 08, 2016 Bill Bickel rated it it was amazing
Perfect for elementary school readers – especially with baseball season coming up! – this is the true story of how William Hoy, a deaf young man in the late 1800s, used talent and determination to become one of Major League Baseball's star players.

What makes the story more interesting, in my opinion, is that even before Hoy had to deal with fellow ballplayers and others teasing him because of his deafness, and telling him he wouldn't be able to succeed, he had other obstacles to overcome: his fi
Juliana Lee
True story of the first deaf professional baseball player. William Hoy changed the game of baseball by teaching the umpires and his teammates signs which would help him and others in the field follow the game. Even the fans who sat far from the infield learned the signs and enjoyed the game much more because of it.
Tracy Holland
Jan 07, 2017 Tracy Holland rated it really liked it
Not being baseball fan, this is a piece of baseball history that I was unaware of. William Hoy, the only deaf child in his family, loves, loves, loves baseball. He is very good at baseball and is discovered, eventually making it to the major leaves. Upon joining the major leagues, he discovers challenges unique to a deaf individual. He is instrumental in the beginning of umpire signals, and signals about plays in sports.
Traci Bold
Jul 06, 2016 Traci Bold rated it it was amazing
Thank you Nancy Churnin for writing this book! I now know all about my uncles favorite baseball player. When I saw this book was slated for release this year, the name 'William Hoy' sounded vaguely familiar. When I read the book, I knew why. My uncle Jimmy, who was deaf by age 18 months, loved baseball. Though William Hoy was long done playing baseball by the time my uncle was born in the 1930's, my uncle knew all about William Hoy from his schooling at Wisconsin School for the Deaf in Delavan, ...more
Apr 23, 2016 Haley added it
Shelves: children-s-lit
This is a story about William Hoy, the first deaf major league baseball player. It was a struggle for him growing up in the hearing world and he got bullied a lot, but despite his hearing, he was a good ball player. After a rather embarrassing time at bat, he sat down with an umpire to discuss some hand signals that he could understand since he couldn’t hear. These signals grew in popularity and are still used today.
I just really thought this was an interesting story. It explained some things ab
Apr 28, 2016 Chelsea rated it it was amazing
A wonderfully written, illustrated and informative book about William Hoy and his journey through life to become a baseball player as he dreamed. This juvenile biography would be great for young school students! This book would serve as a great book for young school students due to the way the book informs the students about the life of William Hoy; through a factually based story. I appreciated the way the illustrations and the biography portrayed William cohesively. I also appreciated how addi ...more
May 02, 2016 Mary rated it it was amazing
It never ceases to amaze me how many interesting stories come out of the world of baseball. This is yet another one about a deaf baseball player in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Perhaps the most interesting tidbit about him is that, in 1902, he got a walk off a deaf pitcher. It was the first time in major league history that two deaf players faced one another in a game. After reading this book, I was wondering if there were other deaf players in subsequent years and was surprised to discover t ...more
Gary Anderson
May 17, 2016 Gary Anderson rated it it was amazing
Here is yet another excellent nonfiction picture book about one of baseball's lesser-known figures. William Hoy was a deaf major-league player from the turn of the last century who was known for his strong, accurate outfield throws and his prowess in stealing bases.

With bright colors and easy-to-discern facial expressions, The William Hoy Story effectively conveys a range of emotions, as well as important messages about perseverance and physical differences.
Sunnyvale Librarian
William Hoy loved baseball. He was a great hitter and pitcher who you may never have heard of but he made a very important contribution to the game of baseball. William played major league baseball in the 1880's . He faced challenges because he was deaf but he never let adversity stop him. It is because of William Hoy that hand signals to indicate strike, safe, out and other plays were introduced to the sport.
Sep 19, 2016 Ann rated it liked it
The second picture book biography I've read about Hoy (see: Silent Star, by Bill Wise), this book covers the basics well. But it doesn't add much more. The Wise book is more attractive and more multilayered. But it's good to have more than one children's book about this deaf sports icon.
Peggy Dynek
Apr 21, 2016 Peggy Dynek rated it really liked it
A great depiction of someone with a disability changing that into a positive. Churnin does a nice job of talking about feelings, conflict, and solving problems. Segment at the end provides factual information to tie up the story.
William Hoy is a man worth knowing about. Plenty of details and events in here for all kinds of kids to relate to. Well written and well illustrated.
William Hoy was the most successful Deaf baseball player in the states. The illustrations are adorable and his story is great.
Jun 11, 2016 Kristin rated it it was amazing
Such an interesting story about a little known baseball player named William Hoy. Has a great message about perseverance and resilience.
May 18, 2016 Janet rated it really liked it
I learn so much from picture books! And it has been added to the reading list for my We Need Diverse Books seminar this summer.
Oct 18, 2015 Wendy added it
Shelves: picture-books
A great picture book biography about William Hoy, a baseball player who was deaf. He worked with umpires to make signs before hand signals became official.
Emily Bayci
May 04, 2016 Emily Bayci rated it really liked it
Shelves: sports
An engaging and factual picture book biography about William Hoy, a deaf young man in the late 1800s, used talent and determination to become one of Major League Baseball's star players.
Tenille Shade
Apr 25, 2016 Tenille Shade rated it really liked it
I can think of a couple of my boys who would love this picture book. Dummy is such a cruel name. William's family was my favorite.
Patty Barr
Jul 05, 2016 Patty Barr rated it really liked it
What a heartwarming story about a deaf young man who becomes a Major League Baseball player
Lori Gravley
Jun 09, 2016 Lori Gravley rated it really liked it
This book, set in Ohio, tells an untold tale of a deaf man who changes America's game. Inspiring.
Jan 16, 2017 Matthew rated it it was amazing
This is the story of William Hoy, who I'd never heard of before reading this. He sounds like an amazing player, and this is a tremendous book for chronicling his career so well. This would be a great sports biography to add to any collection. The details are crisp and clear and the presentation is exciting and engaging. The illustrations remind of the style used in some Disney short films. I liked the whole thing.
Jan 07, 2017 Mandyfy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
My kids and I didn't know the story of William Hoy but how fascinating! Churnin's writing had us feeling for him through the ups and downs of his experience. We all love baseball so this was a great story to read for that as well as the added lesson of overcoming obstacles and perceived limitations to reach a goal.
Abby Johnson
Colorful illustrations bring the start of William Hoy's baseball career to life. Although I really appreciated learning Hoy's story and I think this will be a popular pick with kids (baseball is very popular here), I was left a little cold by the lack of sources. Author Nancy Churnin demonstrates how Hoy's signs for the umpire (so he would know if a ball or strike had been called, etc.) caught on and were appreciated by the general public. But in the author's note she says "William Hoy was not t ...more
Miss Sarah
Nov 21, 2016 Miss Sarah rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
A moving story of a deaf baseball player and how he helped pave the way for other deaf baseball players and helped to create hand signals that are still sued in baseball today. Moving and inspiring. Preschool and up for length.
Jan 27, 2017 Angela rated it really liked it
Fascinating picture book bio of deaf baseball player William Hoy who taught umpires and players hand signals and helped make baseball a better game for everyone.
Ms Threlkeld
An inspirational biography that will appeal to lots of kids, not just ones who love baseball. I had no idea that a deaf player initiated the use of hand signals in the sport. How cool!
Ellen Zarate
Wonderfully inspirational! The title says it all. William Hoy overcame being a deaf baseball player by initiating changes that improved the game for all of us. His story is one of love and determination, and will delight readers of all ages.
Chuck Piehl
Feb 09, 2017 Chuck Piehl rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 15, 2017 Sheri rated it really liked it
Great non fiction story for reading about baseball and how the first deaf player compensated and was able to play in the leagues. And how the signals by the umpire came to be. Good for boys and girls and elementary age kids interested in sports.
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