HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. — Carroll Hardy, a multisport star best known as the only man to pinch hit for Ted Williams, died Sunday at age 87.
Hardy was also known as the football executive who helped assemble the “Orange Crush” defense in Denver during the 1970s.
The University of Colorado, where Hardy was a three-sport star, said he died of complications from dementia. He is survived by his wife and three children.
Hardy went on to play professional baseball and football after starring in track, baseball and football at Colorado from 1951 to ’55.
CU athletic director Rick George called Hardy “a true icon of 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.”
Hardy earned a record 10 letters in the early 1950s. An All-American honorable mention in 1953 and ’54, Hardy rushed for 1,999 career yards with a whopping 6.87 yards per carry average, which remains the best in school history among players with at least 60 carries.
Hardy led the nation in kickoff return average in 1952 and had six interceptions for the Buffaloes.
On the diamond, Hardy was CU’s all-time career batting average leader (.392), with…