CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Four members of the Gallaudet University baseball team found themselves playing in the 22nd annual Oldtime Baseball Game at St. Peter’s Field last week.
Since it’s start in 1994, the Oldtime Baseball Game has donated to a different charity each year. This year the money raised, matched by federal funding, went to the National Technical Institute for the Deaf and sponsor the William “Dummy” Hoy Scholarship. This scholarship is granted to a New England resident who is deaf or hard of hearing to attend Rochester Institute for the Deaf next year.
In honor of the scholarship fund, a replica Dummy Hoy uniform was loaned to the event from the film Signs of the Times. Gallaudet Bison rising junior Blake Phillips (Dalton, Ga.) was bestowed the honor of wearing the uniform.
“This was a really great experience, it was an honor to wear the uniform of Dummy Hoy,” said Phillips. “I feel like I had a great opportunity facing the highest challenge. Some of those players were Division I or professional players. I was really excited.”
Phillips was the starting pitcher for the visiting team, he pitched two innings, only giving up one hit, to the second to last batter he faced. Pitching opposite of Phillips for the home team was another Gallaudet rising junior Ian Evans (Murphy, N.C.) sporting a 1921 Pittsburgh Pirates uniform. Evans pitched in the 5th and 6th innings, walking three, allowing two hits and no runs.
“It was a great experience to wear the old uniform and play under the lights in a game mixed with D1, D2 and D3 players,” said Evans. “I just want to thank Coach Curtis Pride and Sean Flanagan for setting up this opportunity. If I get asked again I would definitely say yes.”
Also joining the visiting team were upcoming sophomores Kyle Gumm (Dallas, Texas) and Dylan Hayes (Endicott, N.Y.) who played left and right fields, respectively. Gumm entered the game in the third inning wearing a 1954 Joe Bauman uniform (No. 53) of the Roswell Rockets.
“It was an amazing experience! When I flew into Boston I felt thankful for being there to show what I have and thankful that I can play. The city was beautiful and I really enjoyed playing with those players,” said Gumm.
Hayes displayed his home state pride wearing a Yankees uniform (No. 4) worn by the famous Lou Gehrig in 1934. In five innings Hayes made a can of corn play in right field, was hit by a pitch and later scored, and had a two-run single.
“It was a nice experience, a lot of people came out to support us. We learned about Dummy Hoy, who was the first deaf player and the reason why baseball uses signs in the game,” Hayes said. “There were deaf people at the game as well and we talked with all of them, it was like being a celebrity.”
Among the 95 players were Skip Flanagan and Brian Sheridan, both deaf players on the Rochester Institute of Technology Tigers baseball team. Flanagan, the 2012 Oldtime Baseball Game MVP, returned for his fourth year to play in the Oldtime Game and was a catalyst for the charity game in the name of Dummy Hoy this year. Fans were also star-struck by a few professional players and their families. Lindsay Berra, granddaughter of 1972 Hall of Famer Yogi Berra, was back for her second year playing outfield. Two retired Boston Red Sox players also made an appearance in the 2015 game. Lou Merloni, former Sox infielder turned radio personality, and Jim Lonborg who helped guide the 1967 Red Sox team to their first pennant in 21 years. Lonborg opened the game, pitching to the first two batters.
The 2015 game and Opening Ceremony can be watched online at the Oldtime website, http://oldtimebaseball.com.