David Hardt started his fifty-year sixteen-inch softball career in the late forties and early fifties in the Father Jerry League. Top players like Eddie Earle (HOF), Orin Matson, Bill Hall, Geno Petramale (HOF), Jack Zeko, and Jack Lewis played in this league.
After the Father Jerry League, David started playing with the Wolves at Portage and Kosciuszko Parks. They also played on Saturday and Sunday in “jackpot” games at Wells, La Follette, Sayre, and Amundsen Parks. They won the John C. Marcin Tournament a few times and beat the Dugouts in 1959 and 1960 for the Portage Park Title.
He played in the Daddy-O-Daily League with the Kenneth Allen team. He played with Hall of Famers Tony Reibel, Louie Vine, Wally Mader, Ed Whitman, Gil Muratori, Zeke Crement, and Ed Mulligan, who was the longest softball hitter of his time.
He also played for Ron “Beetlebom” Braasch (HOF) at Clarendon Park in the days before park superintendent George Morse (HOF) decide to inject the softball with water to prevent the long home run. He also played with Lewa Yacilla (HOF) and Moose Camillo (HOF) in money games at Clarendon, Wells, La Follette Parks and at Chicago and Kedzie. When they needed an outfielder, they called David because he was fast and had a rifle arm.
David led most of his teams in total bases because he could hit down the right field line. He drove in more than 1000 runs and hit more than two hundred home runs. He played nearly every position except first base but favored the outfield. In the Lake Shore Tournament, he went sixteen for seventeen and was selected tournament MVP.
David and his wife, Joan, live in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas. They have two
children – Richard, and Nancy, and three grandchildren, Danielle, Ron, and Dave. The Hardt family tradition of playing sixteen-inch softball now covers three generations. Their son, Rick, played for many great teams and is still pitching for some at the age of fifty-seven. Their grandson, Dave, has played on many championship teams in Chicago and the suburbs. He currently plays for the Road Runners.