The only man to pinch-hit for Ted Williams, Hardy hit his first major-league home run on May 18, 1958 — pinch-hitting for Roger Maris.
On September 20, 1960, Williams fouled a pitch off his foot and had to be removed. Up to the plate stepped Hardy, who finished the at-bat by hitting into a double play. Less than a week later, he replaced Williams in left field in the Splendid Splinter’s last game. “They booed me all the way out and cheered him all the way in,” Hardy later remembered.
A reserve for the majority of his career, Hardy saw the most action in 1962 (362 at-bats for the Boston Red Sox), but hit just .215. He was also a split-end and halfback for the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers in 1955.