But a 1996 Sports Illustrated article provides a happy ending:
It's not baseball that the two thirty-something mothers of toddler daughters wanted to discuss with former New York Yankee Gil McDougald one morning last May at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. Chances were the women had not even been born when McDougald was a five-time All-Star infielder on the powerhouse Yankees teams of the 1950s. What drew them together was a remarkable device called a cochlear implant (a 1-inch disc of titanium, silicone and platinum attached by a thin wire to a microcomputer small enough to be worn in a pocket) that had brought sound into the lives of the little girls and returned McDougald to the hearing world.
For almost 25 years McDougald was profoundly deaf, the result of being hit in the head by a batted ball when he was with the Yankees, and the implant, which he received in 1994, has ended the social isolation that came with his hearing loss. It has helped him reconnect with old friends, and, more poignant, carve out a new career as an advocate for the hearing impaired.
Since receiving the implant, McDougald has become a sought-after speaker on the subject of deafness. Last October, for example, he made seven appearances at events for hearing organizations. He also joined Heather Whitestone, Miss America 1995, who is deaf, before a U.S. Senate subcommittee that was taking testimony on funding cuts for the disabled.