William “Doc” Hardy

Background: Doc, aged 36, hails from Louisville, Kentucky. A professor at East Tennessee University at the commencement of the war, he found himself without employment once Confederate armies occupied Knoxville and used the campus buildings as barracks and hospitals for wounded men in early 1862. He clerked at some of the town’s largest wholesale firms and stores specializing in dry goods before becoming the proprietor of Knoxville’s sole book and stationary store.  Although Doc publicly maintained a neutral disposition during the secession debate, William “Parson” Brownlow alleged in his paper, Brownlow’s Whig and Rebel Ventilator, that the college professor was “a born agitator” who anonymously contributed editorials to the pro-Rebel Knoxville Register in which he lost no opportunity to attack Lincoln and the Union with vituperative bitterness. Although the university recently reopened despite ongoing repairs to the war-ravaged campus, its loyal Unionist president and board of trustees have refused to rehire Doc.

Sturdily built, a good specimen of physical manhood, and afflicted with the base ball fever that has swept Tennessee since the war ended, Doc joined the Holston club in its inaugural season and earned a reputation as a batsmen for knocking a splendid whizzer as well as a cunning basetender at second known for scooping up bounders and daisy cutters to turn double plays.

Occasionally, Doc will assume pitching responsibilities for one or two innings. At most matches, Doc can be found among the spectators sharing the history of the national game.  His most rabid followers, who attend the matches adorned in the club’s colors, include his wife Heather, Matthew, a bouncing ginger boy of seven, and Kate Elizabeth, a vivacious girl of two.   

Origin of nickname: I reckon “Doc” was bestowed upon me by our club’s captain owing to my profession.

What bat do you normally swing? Last season my timber of choice was the club’s 36-inch Jackie. This season, however, I plan to debut a custom designed Smacker 35-inch Addison model that is stained to match our club’s colors.   

What was your favorite moment from last season? It’s a toss-up between Adam “Butter Bean” Alfrey’s arm flailing and playing and besting the Oak Hill Travellers 10 to 6 on hallowed ground at John McGavock’s Carnton Plantation in Franklin in which the Holstons’ history professors not only showed sand but also presented a bold front.

What are you looking forward to most for this season? Opening day and hearing the umpire exclaim “striker to the line!”