Dummy Hoy Movie, “The Silent Natural,” to Premier at Davidson Theatre

Chris Gaitten
From left, baseball manager Frank Selee (Barry Livingston) and Dummy Hoy (Miles Barbee) explain to umpires the system of hand signals they will use to let Hoy know which pitches were called balls and which were strikes.

It has been a banner year for William “Dummy” Hoy, one of the first deaf baseball players to star in the major leagues more than a century ago. First, he was honored with a 2019 Great Ohioan Award alongside Rutherford B. Hayes in February, and now a movie about his life, “The Silent Natural,” will make its local premiere at the Davidson Theatre on Monday, Oct. 14.

“The Silent Natural” came about in part because of extensive research by Columbus resident Steve Sandy, who has devoted decades to getting the National Baseball Hall of Fame to induct Hoy, a major leaguer from 1888 to 1902. Sandy eventually teamed up with Los Angeles director David Risotto to make the biopic, as detailed in the May issue of Columbus Monthly.

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The movie debuted in May in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, where it was filmed.  Its first local showing will be 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Davidson Theatre in the Riffe Center. Deaf Initiatives, a social enterprise based in Bexley that employs deaf young women and girls to help them develop job skills, will host the screening. Tickets are $10, and proceeds will support USA Deaf Athletics’ trip to the Deaflympics in Italy in December.


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