NFL, MLB Legend Carroll Hardy Dies at 87; Only Man to Pinch Hit for Ted Williams

A view of a ball thrown into the stands by Cleveland Indians' Francisco Lindor (12) during a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds in Cincinnati, Monday, Aug. 3, 2020. The Reds won 3-2. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)

Aaron Doster/Associated Press

Former MLB outfielder and NFL running back Carroll Hardy, who later worked in the Denver Broncos front office, died Sunday from complications due to dementia.

He was 87.

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Carroll Hardy, architect of Broncos ‘Orange Crush’ defense dead at 87 https://t.co/lelJ7b4tYx

Hardy played for four teams during his MLB career from 1958-1967. He is best known for pinch hitting for Ted Williams during the 1960 season, becoming the only player to ever pinch hit for the Boston Red Sox legend.

In addition to his baseball career, Hardy played one season for the San Francisco 49ers in 1955 after starring as a three-sport athlete at Colorado.

After retiring from baseball, Hardy joined the Denver Broncos front office as an executive and helped put together their famed “Orange Crush” defense.

He once told the Denver Post (h/t the Associated Press): “I’d like to have people remember me for hitting 400 home runs and a lifetime batting average of .305, but I didn’t do that. But it’s not bad being remembered as the only man to ever pinch hit for Ted Williams.”

CU athletic director Rick George said in a statement (h/t Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post): “I had the pleasure of meeting and visiting with Carroll several times—what a wonderful man and a true icon in the state. His list of accomplishments in his lifetime and the people he touched are really second-to-none. We have lost a great Buffalo.”

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