Happy Birthday, Scott Hardesty!

Scott Hardesty played shortstop and first base for the Giants after the Newark squad ran out of money and sold him on 10 August 1899 as the Atlantic League team was folding. Though he only hit .222 in his brief tryout, Hardesty had one game where he played a flawless shortstop, made one spectacular spear of a liner, and came up with three of his career sixteen singles. However, he was found to be lacking – the Brooklyn Daily Eagle noting “Hardesty is too slow for short field and cannot bat.”

Before his baseball career got rolling, Hardesty and his friend Owen Whitten were jailed and charged with assault and intent to kill Wesley White, a gambling proprietor who claimed that Hardesty had taken money from him the previous week. After a scuffle ensued between the three of them, Whitten found a board rule and slammed it over the raised arm of White, which bowed and hit White on the head, cutting him severely and left White in pretty bad shape.

According to Baseball-Reference.com, Hardesty moved around in his early days a lot – and one wonders if Hardesty quickly burned bridges despite having a modicum of talent – not to mention, one wonders what he was doing between, say, the age of 18 and 25, when he first lands on a professional squad (other than, say, gambling and fighting with other gamblers).

After being released by the Giants in September, 1899, Dayton signed Hardesty for the 1900 season despite a surly reputation. “I’ll not bow to sentiment this season,” said Armour. “Because a player is not popular will not be to his disadvantage in my estimation. I want good men, and if a man can play ball and he behaves himself properly he will have an all season job with the Dayton team.’

A few months later, Hardesty was suspended for insubordination. He then joined Kansas City and bounced around the Western League. Apparently, he had a rough edge to his attitude and play – the Dayton Daily News added “…a portion of his conduct here on the ball field was that of a rowdy.” He was also a big effective outfielder. Once he took in a fly ball, then fired the ball to first to kick off a triple play.

Despite his history at Dayton, Hardesty joined Little Rock when their first baseman went down. He had already played for Columbus and Fort Wayne in the Western Association, playing first base for Fort Wayne, and Right, Shortstop and First Base with Columbus, batting .281 with 7 stolen bases.

In 1903, he was playing first base when he “accidentally tripped” Roger Conner, the manager and first baseman of the Springfield, MA team. Conner fell awkwardly and wasn’t happy about it, so he found Hardesty on the street outside the New London, CT ballpark and assaulted Hardesty, leading to Connor’s arrest.

For some reason, leagues out there thought the tough guy would be an umpire  He was hired to do that in the Interstate League in 1906 and quickly earned a reputation for being willing to dish out fines to players. That job didn’t last long…

Umps Scott Hardesty has cashed in his checks. One week in the O. and P. was enough for him and now it’s back to Marietta and the simple life for the umps with the fining habit. Everybody’s glad that Scott got out of the muss before some one had to answer a charge of assault and battery before a police magistrate. For just as sure as little apples grow on trees so sure was Scott Hardesty picked out to be the butt of some ball player’s fist.

Zanesville was laying up until he got home with them tomorrow but Scott took time by the forelock and made up his mind that he’d rather continue to have a good life insurance risk than to have his widow commend the company for a prompt payment.

So just as soon as Hardesty discovered that Zanesville had followed him across to Mercer county he made up his mind to let President Morton have his job. Last night he boarded a train bound for Marietta and it’s back him with Scott.

Here’s hoping that the next selection of President Morton will live up to his press notices, written “without sight” and really be a good umps. We have two now, Lavell and Wise and Barry yet to be heard from. Let’s have another like the first two members.

“Back to the Farm for Umps Hardesty”, New Castle Herald, 19 May 1906, Page 2.

Scott Durbin Hardesty was born 26 January 1870 to John Scott and Missouri Teeter Hardesty. He was the first of four children. John spent the final year of the Civil War serving in the U.S. Army, and then became a farmer. John died in 1882 and Missouri would remarry at least twice, having a son by her second husband. On 07 November 1894, Scott married Nettie Olive Shafer, who would become a seamstress and later own her own grocery. He was a carpenter then later a merchant in a billiards parlor. They had a daughter, Virginia, in 1896, but she must have died as a child as she has no record by the 1910 US Census. Hardesty moved to the next league on 29 October 1944.

Sources:

1870 US Census
1880 US Census
1910 US Census
1920 US Census
1930 US Census
1940 US Census
FindaGrave.com
Baseball-Reference
Ohio Solider Grave Registrations

“A Blow That May Kill”, 08 December 1892, Page 2.

“Team Will Remain”, Allentown Leader, 11 August 1899, Page 1.

“Made it Four Straight.”, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 07 September 1899, Page 14.

“Sporting Gossip”, Dayton Daily News, 12 April 1900, Page 3.

“A Triple Play”, Dayton Daily News, 10 August 1900, Page 3.

“Scott Hardesty”, Dayton Daily News, 23 July 1901, Page 3.

“New First Baseman”, Daily Arkansas Gazette, 06 April 1902, Page 2.

“Ball Player Arrested.”, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 05 June 1903, Page 13.

“Diamond Dust”, Mansfield News-Journal, 15 May 1906, Page 7.

“Back to the Farm for Umps Hardesty”, New Castle Herald, 19 May 1906, Page 2.

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