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Carroll Hardy, the only man to pinch hit for Ted Williams, dead at 87

Carroll Hardy poses with former Red Sox teammate Ted Williams at a 1986 Old Timer's Game at Fenway Park.
Carroll Hardy poses with former Red Sox teammate Ted Williams at a 1986 Old Timer's Game at Fenway Park.The Boston Globe

Carroll Hardy, the only player ever to pinch hit for Ted Williams, died on Sunday in Colorado of complications from dementia. He was 87.

Hardy played in the majors from 1958-64 and for 11 games in 1967. He was with the Red Sox from 1960-62.

On Sept. 20, 1960, Williams fouled a ball off his foot in the first inning and was replaced by Hardy, who lined into a double play.

Eight days later, Williams homered in the eighth inning against Baltimore. After Williams went out to left field in the top of the ninth, manager Pinky Higgins sent Hardy out to replace him so the Splendid Splinter could receive an ovation from the crowd of 10,454 at Fenway Park.

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It was the last game Williams played.

Hardy was booed on his way out to left field before the fans cheered Williams on his way in. Williams famously refused to tip his cap.

Hardy also pinch-hit for another future Hall of Famer, Carl Yastrzemski, in 1961. Hardy, an outfielder, was a .225 career hitter with 17 home runs.

Hardy played halfback for the San Francisco 49ers in 1955 and after retiring from baseball worked 20 years for the Denver Broncos in player personnel.

In 1978, as assistant special team coach of the Broncos, Patriots coach Bill Belichick came to know Hardy and was a racquetball partner.

Hardy was a three-sport star at the University of Colorado who lettered 10 times in baseball, football and track.



Peter Abraham can be reached at peter.abraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.