The Ohio Deaf Baseball club went on two tours in 1879 and came home
with a 44-7 record against amateur, college, semi pro, minor league and major
league teams. The team traveled through Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and New
York in both tours.
Impossible? Baseball was a new sport during the 1860’s. And in the
1870’s the talent gap between deaf amateurs and hearing pros was narrow, a
level playing field. All of these deaf players, with one exception, played
baseball at Ohio School for the Deaf. A baseball promoter approached
Parley Pratt, the school baseball coach with a cross country proposal.
Pratt accepted and quickly assembled his best players that played for him
in the past.
The tour began in June with a 6-0 win over Springfield Champions, which
defeated Chicago Cubs. It continued with games in Cincinnati, Cleveland,
Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, Troy and other cities.
At the end of the New York journey, the players, weary and bruised,
decided to go home, cancelling games scheduled in Philadelphia, Baltimore
and Washington, DC.
Two weeks later, the players decided to embark on a second tour,
traveling through Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, still winning more games.
The tour ended in September. Never again would they get together for
future tours. Three of the touring players became professional ball
players – in minors and in majors.
Dummy Hoy? He was only 15 years old at that time, and obviously too
young to tour with the adults!