WRHS Class of 1970
We are sadden and grieving for the passing of a close friend and relative, Tommy Hardy. He had a kind heart and enjoyed humor about life. I remember him as a very good baseball player and we experienced many memories of playing sports at WRHS. My deepest condolences and sorrow goes out to his family and relatives. Tommy will be remembered and missed by all who knew him.
WRHS Class of 1967
My memories of the late Tommy Hardy is that he was always willing to help out.....he didn't have to do it but he somehow was always the first to assist. Always congenial and never hesitated to greet an acquaintance......followed by jokes and laughter. He may have been the blunt of some of the jokes but that didn't matter....he took it well and in stride. We shall forever miss him but by the grace of God we shall see him again. What a sight it must be for him to be re-united with his family.
My condolences to his family. Rest in Peace Tommy,
WRHS Class of 1969
I write this e-mail as a short memorial to my friend Tommy Hardy.
For those of us who grew up in Fort Defiance in the 60’s, it was a special time and place. There were no such thing as gangs, meth, drive-by’s, satellite t.v. etc. It was a peaceful, pleasant atmosphere for all us youngsters filled with fun and wholesome activities such as family gatherings, friends, and sports. The biggest thing for us kids was little league baseball.
At that time, there were baseball teams from all over the rez, from Tuba City, Shiprock, Chinle, Toyei, Kayenta, Crownpoint, Wide Ruins, and many more places to travel and see if you were on a team. Here in Fort Defiance there were the Fort Defiance Giants, Dodgers, and Braves. Everyone knew each other, from the players, parents, grandparents, umpires, and coaches. The “big time coaches” at that time were Bill Cadman and Mr. Slinkey (Giants), Johnny House (Braves), Rex Kontz (Dodgers) and Leo Haven (Window Rock Red Sox). All the youngsters from ages 9 to 12 awaited the beginning of the little league baseball season in early April when practice started, to Memorial Day weekend, which was traditionally the start of the baseball season. We would play from 30 to 40 games each summer and it was a blast.
I was a catcher for the Fort Defiance Giants. Every Tuesday and Thursday we would have a game in the evenings about 5:00 or 6:00 p.m. at Giants Field, which was located where the Rio Puerco Housing complex now stands. In those days, baseball in the evenings was about the only activity happening in Fort Defiance, and crowds of people would come to the games, parking their cars along the first and third base line, honking their horns and yelling for their teams.
Without a doubt the biggest baseball star at the time was Tommy Hardy. Tom was a pitcher for the Giants and the buzz throughout Fort would be “Tommy’s pitching tonight”. The Fort fans would flock to the game, often times two or three times the normal crowd of most games to watch Tommy pitch. Tommy had a fastball, “drop”, and curveball that would confuse batters like crazy. It was not unusual for him to strike out 15 batters in a 6 inning ball game. When I was his catcher, I always told myself not to blink because his fastball would come so fast that it would pop my catcher’s mitt within a second after it left his hand. I watched him from behind the plate as he would strike out a batter, chuckle to himself, wind up, kick his leg up high in the air, strike out another batter, and chuckle to himself again.
We’d travel throughout the Rez, 15 players crammed into the camper of Coach Cadman’s old grey pick up truck to the next game without a care or worry in the world. All the other teams we played would be worried if Tommy was pitching against them that game. I remember we played in Tuba City one Memorial Day weekend, and Tom struck out the whole team 6 innings in a row, 18 strike outs – a perfect game. To this day, I truly believe that he would have gone to the pros, if only he had the opportunity to go to college or been discovered by some big league scout. He was that special as a baseball player and a person.
Yes, it was a special time and place - the innocence, the beauty, and the wonderful memories of a special Fort Defiance that is forever etched in my mind. I am writing this to you all because to us Fort “bros”, Tommy Hardy was not just a name in an obituary, or a housekeeper at the Fort Defiance Indian Hospital – he was a genuine hometown legend for many of us in our youth. We looked up to him in awe for he stood out in this community through his athletic ability and kindness to his peers. In his older years, Tom continued to be a respectful, hard working, and caring person, still held in high esteem by his family and friends.
Similar to Tom, we have many special people that work in this hospital, and my heartfelt wish is for all our special employees to appreciate their family, friends, and co-workers, for each individual has a special history, quality, and character about them like my beloved friend Tom. God bless you Tom – may you walk in beauty.