Friday, February 21, 2014

The last deaf pitcher

On this date (February 21) in 1875, the last deaf pitcher was born in Kansas. And he was very successful at the game. Luther Taylor won 116 games for the Indians and Giants in the early 1900's. His final record was 117-103 with a career 2.75 ERA, and 72 of his wins came in his last five seasons.

He was the last deaf Major League Baseball pitcher (Curtis Pride who now coaches Gallaudet's baseball team was an outfielder). A story is told that Taylor's manager with the Giants learned sign language. During one game, an umpire who was also fluent in sign realized that the two were complaining about his calls and threw them both out of the game. Taylor was known for his run-ins with umpires, yet worked as an amateur umpire himself for more than 20 years.

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