Luther ‘Dummy’ Taylor failed to pitch in a World Series
Luther Haden ‘Dummy’ Taylor (September 21, 1875 – August 22, 1958) was a deaf American right-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball from 1900 to 1908. overcame the disability of being a deaf-mute to become part of one of the greatest pitching rotations of its time in Major League Baseball and one of the most popular players in the early 20th century. After graduating from the Kansas School for the Deaf in 1895, Taylor played semi-pro baseball in Kansas, Missouri and Illinois before breaking into organized baseball with Albany in the New York State League. The New York Giants purchased his contract on July 16, 1900, and Taylor spent nine seasons with the Giants, pitching for legendary manager John McGraw and joining the rotation of Christy Mathewson and Frank McGinnity. The Giants won the World Series in 1905, but Taylor did not pitch because his scheduled start was rained out and Mathewson became the World Series hero. Taylor pitched for the Giants until the end of the 1908 season and finished with a record of 117-103, including a 72-45 mark in his last five seasons. Taylor pitched in 274 games during his career, had 21 shutouts and finished with an earned run average of 2.75. After leaving the Giants in 1908, Taylor pitched four seasons in the International League before retiring as a player in 1914.
During an interview that appeared in The Sporting News on December 24, 1942, Taylor explained simply why he did not start that game on the next day: “Two answers to that one. Matty and Joe McGinnity.”
Why did a start mean so much to Taylor? It was very simple: If he had gotten the ball the next day, he would have been the first deaf player to play in a World Series. [Read the story]
Taylor died on August 22, 1958, at the age of 82, just 11 days after suffering a presumably mild heart attack. He was clear-minded and in excellent spirits to the end. He is buried in Baldwin City, Kansas, with his first wife Della.
Taylor accomplished a great deal in his life, building a bridge between those who could hear and those that didn’t. In 1936 he was awarded a lifetime pass to the major leagues. In 1952 he became the second player inducted into the American Athletic Association for the Deaf. After he died, the Kansas School for the Deaf named its gymnasium for him in 1961. In 2006 Luther Taylor was inducted into the Kansas Baseball Hall of Fame.
A monument was erected on Taylor’s gravesite on May 24, 2008.