||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (March 2009)|
May 18, 1933 |
Sturgis, South Dakota
|April 15, 1958, for the Cleveland Indians|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 27, 1967, for the Minnesota Twins|
|Runs batted in||113|
Carroll William Hardy (born May 18, 1933) is a former outfielder in Major League Baseball who played for the Cleveland Indians (1958–1960), Boston Red Sox (1960–1962), Houston Colt .45s (1963–1964) and Minnesota Twins (1967). He batted and threw right-handed.
Hardy attended the University of Colorado from 1951 to 1955, where he lettered in football, baseball and track. He was all-Big Seven Conference as a halfback, running from a single-wing formation under head coach Dallas Ward, and All-Conference in baseball under head coach Frank Prentup.
A third-round pick in the 1955 NFL Draft, Hardy chose baseball over football after one year in the National Football League (NFL). He caught 12 passes—four for touchdowns— while he played halfback with the San Francisco 49ers in 1955, but his biggest claim to fame will always be related to baseball, even though he was named the Hula Bowl MVP that year.
Major League Baseball
Most die-hard baseball fans know that Hardy has the honor of being the only player ever to pinch-hit for Ted Williams, but few people know that Hardy's pinch-hit resume goes well beyond this claim to trivia immortality. He then became the only player to pinch-hit for Carl Yastrzemski, Williams' replacement in left field. He also pinch hit for Roger Maris.
Hardy spent two seasons, 1957–58, with the Indians farm team, the San Diego Padres, which was owned at the time by C. Arnholt Smith, founder and owner of San Diego's U.S. National Bank. A reserve for the majority of his career, he debuted with the Cleveland Indians in the 1958 season. On May 18, celebrating his 25th birthday, he pinch-hit for Roger Maris and belted his first major league home run, a three-run blast off Billy Pierce, to lead Cleveland to a 7–4 victory over the Chicago White Sox.
Late in the 1960 season, Hardy was on the bench for the Boston Red Sox. Ted Williams, in the final days of his Hall of Fame career, fouled a ball off his foot in the first inning of a game on September 20. After he limped off the field, Hardy finished the at bat for him, becoming the only player ever to do so. Hardy lined into a double play.
On September 28 at Fenway Park, in his final major league appearance, Williams hit his 521st and last home run against Jack Fisher of the Baltimore Orioles. In the ninth inning, he was replaced by Hardy in left field. "They booed me all the way out and cheered him all the way in," Hardy later remembered. Then, on May 31, 1961, Hardy pinch-hit for rookie Carl Yastrzemski, making him the only player in major league history to go in for both future Hall of Famers.
Hardy saw most action in 1962, posting career-highs in games (115), at-bats (362), hits (78), runs, home runs (eight) and runs batted in (36), but hit for just a .215 average. On April 11, Hardy enjoyed another career highlight at Fenway Park, when he broke up a scoreless pitching duel between Ron Taylor of Cleveland and Bill Monbouquette of the Red Sox, hitting a 12th-inning, walk-off grand slam for a 4–0 Boston victory over the Indians.
On December 10, 1962, Hardy was traded to the Houston Colt .45s for another outfielder, Dick Williams. Williams would eventually become Boston's manager, lead them to the 1967 American League pennant, and forge a Hall of Fame career as a manager.
Hardy spent most of the rest of his playing career at the Triple-A level, with brief appearances for Houston and Minnesota. On the last day of the 1967 season, the Twins lost a chance to clinch the American League pennant, losing to the Red Sox, 6-2, in Fenway Park. With two outs in the 9th inning, Rich Rollins pinch hit for catcher Russ Nixon and popped out to Rico Petrocelli for the last out of the game. Had Rollins reached base, Hardy would have pinch hit for Twins pitcher Mudcat Grant. Hardy managed in the Twins' farm system at the Class A level in 1968.
In an eight-season career, Hardy was a .225 hitter with 17 home runs and 113 RBI in 433 games.
With his baseball career behind him, Hardy worked for 20 years in the Denver Broncos' front office. As a player personnel director, he was the key figure in building what eventually became the Orange Crush Defense in the 1970s. He was also part of the Broncos when they went to Super Bowl XII in 1977. Currently, he works for Steamboat Springs, Colorado.