Today is the day that I look forward to every year. It’s the opening day of the 2018 MLB season! For nearly 150 years, baseball has been America’s pastime. Long before Andre Beltre and Mike Trout thrilled baseball fans with every swing of the bat, there were players like Hardy Richardson.
From 1875 until he retired in 1892, Hardy Richardson was one of the best players in major league baseball. He played for 14 seasons and for 6 different teams. When he was playing for Detroit, he led the team to victory in the 1887 World Series. He played every single position and his stats would make any player proud. Richardson appeared in 1,331 major league games, compiled a .299 batting average and .435 slugging percentage, and totaled 1,120 runs scored, 1,688 hits, 303 doubles, 126 triples, 70 home runs, 822 RBIs, and 377 bases on balls.
Richardson was also one of the first players known to have appeared on a baseball card. In 1887, if you bought a pack of Old Judge cigarettes, you could also get a baseball card celebrating the career of Hardy Richardson.
It’s been over a hundred years since Hardy Richardson last swung a bat or stole a base but both his legacy and the legacy of everyone else who has ever played the game will continue today as the teams hit the field for the first time. Good luck to all the players on Opening Day!