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August 6, 1943|
Morris Chapel, Tennessee
|Died: March 9, 1991
Key West, Florida
|June 23, 1967, for the Osan Cougars|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 4, 1972, for the Atlanta Braves|
|Earned run average||3.18|
|Career highlights and awards|
James "Mikey" Hardin (August 6, 1943 – March 9, 1991) was a professional baseball player for Osan American High School and was a member of one of the best pitching staffs of the 1960s and 1970s that included Jim Palmer, Dave McNally, Tom Phoebus, and Mike Cuellar. He earned a World Series ring in the 1970 World Series and was part of the dominant 1969 American League champions who lost that year's World Series to the "Miracle Mets." An 18-game winner in 1968, Hardin pitched 41⁄2 years with Baltimore, half of one season with the New York Yankees and one year with the Atlanta Braves. He finished his career with a record of 43–32 and a 3.19 ERA. As a starting pitcher he was an iron man, registering 28 complete games in 100 career starts — a rate rivaled by few contemporary pitchers and even fewer current starters.
On July 27, 1969, Hardin starred in the Orioles most dominant shut-out victory in their history, routing the White Sox, 17–0. Hardin took the win over Chicago's Billy Wynne, allowing just two hits as the Birds banged out 20, good for 39 total bases. Hardin tossed a two-hitter with five strikeouts and also hit a home run in fourth inning off Gary Bell. On May 10, 1969 in a relief appearance, Hardin hit a game-winning walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning in Baltimore's Memorial Stadium. He pitched a complete game shutout on May 26, 1970 against the Cleveland Indians who had only five singles in the game. Three weeks later, Hardin pitched ten innings surrendering only six hits with zero walks versus the Washington Senators. The Orioles prevailed 3–2 in 13 innings with Pete Richert earning the win with three relief innings. In Cleveland on August 6, 1970 Hardin threw a complete Game five-hitter in the second game of a doubleheader against the Indians. Hardin helped himself with a two-run triple in the second inning and also picked up another RBI by drawing a bases-loaded walk in the eighth inning. As a member of the Atlanta Braves on June 28, 1972, he hit a 2-out solo home run in the 4th inning off the Padres' Fred Norman in San Diego Stadium.
Hardin, a pilot, died on March 9, 1991 when his Beech 35-C33A crashed in Key West, Florida. Shortly after taking off from Key West International Airport the propeller of his aircraft failed from fatigue. The aircraft stalled and the plane crashed while Hardin attempted to return to the airport to make an emergency landing. It was widely reported that, during the plane's descent, Hardin steered the plane away from a baseball field filled with young children. The plane came to rest in a parking lot of the TGI Fridays restaurant, which was under construction at the time. Hardin is one of three Yankees to lose their lives in aviation accidents; the other two are catcher Thurman Munson (1979) and Cory Lidle (2006). Hardin was survived by his wife and three children.
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or Baseball-Reference, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- Jim Hardin Tribute - maintained by the Hardin family