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17

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As player-manager for the 1905 New York Giants, John McGraw liked nothing more than belittling opponents, menacing umpires, and winning at any bloody cost. But the rare display of compassion this hardball bastard showed for Luther “Dummy” Taylor, a deaf-mute hurler, would be a key factor in helping the Giants win that year’s National League pennant. Out of loyalty to Taylor, McGraw ran his ragtag team using sign language; if the surly manager called for an S-T-E-A-L, then the base runner, deaf or otherwise, either took the base or had his ass handed to him back in the dugout. Umpires, also wanting to aid Taylor, followed McGraw’s lead and developed gestures to signal balls, strikes, fouls, and so on—many of which are still used today by major-league umps. Tonight, Evelyn and LeRoy Christian will present a sign-interpreted lecture about Taylor and fellow deaf-mute big-leaguer William “Dummy” Hoy, at 7 p.m. at the Arlington Central Library Auditorium, 1015 N. Quincy St., Arlington. Free. (703) 228-5990. (Sean Daly)