MacHardy, Bob (2006)
The posthumous induction of Bob MacHardy, who joins former teammate and Gold Dust Twin Bill Cary (MBHOF ‘91) into the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame, completes the slate on arguably the most revered athlete to come out of Westbrook.
Bob started and starred all four years in baseball and basketball for the Blue Blazes. A wide-ranging shortstop, Bob batted .397 and paced Freddy Harlow’s Blue Blazes to the 1951 Telegram League Title and a 9 - 0 win over Presque Isle for the State Class A crown. Bob also starred several summers for Yudy’s Tires in the Portland Twilight League.
The true life legend of Bob MacHardy was forged during the 1950-51 Blue Blazes basketball season when the strapping 6’ 2” senior captained Coach Paddy Davan’s five to a 26 - 0 record capped by a Vinall Trophy performance in the Western Maine Tournament and a record 34 points in rallying Westbrook to a 71 - 54 win over Bangor in the state championship.
Bob joined Bill Cary at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida and continued his remarkable athletic career both on the diamond and the hardcourt. A Small College All-American as a guard on the Tars’ basketball team, Bob moved over to first base in the spring and anchored the right side of the infield for four years, highlighted by a bases-loaded triple in Rollins’ runner-up finish in the 1954 College World Series, the smallest school ever to play for the baseball national championship.
In 1978 Bob was inducted into the Rollins Sports Hall of Fame.
Following a 4-year hitch in the Marines where he played some fast service ball, Bob returned to his college community of Winter Park and commenced a teaching/coaching career that would span 26 years. He coached basketball for twelve seasons as well as JV football, cross country, tennis, golf and volleyball.
Bob MacHardy died unexpectedly in August of 1985 at the age of 52. His wife Jan now resides in Virginia as do his son Bill and daughter Kathy. His son Ray lives in Texas. Bob’s 100 year old mother who until recently lived at Longfellow Place in Westbrook, now resides in Durham, New Hampshire as does Bob’s brother Bill. Bob’s brother Jack lives in Florida.
At a time when high school sports could galvanize a community, in a town where schoolboy athletes were accorded hero status, Bob MacHardy was the icon, the gold standard to which all future athletes in Westbrook aspired. His legacy was captured by sportswriter Dick Doyle who wrote: “When it comes to total performance in high school and college, in overall personal impact on institution, community and state, the name of Bob MacHardy is the elite of the elite.”
From Westbrook Baseball Foundation~Memories Are Forever
Westbrook has a rich baseball tradition. For decades boys and men have played representing their city, neighborhood, church and employer. We hope these pages honor those that have proudly played the game.
Below is the team information as it appeared in the Westbrook High School yearbook The Blue & White 1952:
The Westbrook High baseball season of 1951 was really successful. Our team captured the Telegram League and State Championship.
When we entered the final game with South Portland, we had a 12-3 record and were tied with the Capers for first place. We won the game 4-3 in ten innings behind Bill Cary, ace moundsman. The winning play turned out to be the "double-squeeze" which Coach Harlow had had the boys practicing all year.
We drew a bye in the first round of the State Tournament and faced South Portland again in the second round. With another close game expected, a large crowd turned out. Cary again held the Capers and we pounded out a 7-1 victory. With South Portland out of the way, we faced Lewiston. Cary went to the mound again and we smacked Lewiston, 9-4, to win the Western Maine Championship. This gave us the right to meet Presque Isle for the State Championship at Bangor. Gary went to the mound and pitched tremendous ball to hold Presque Isle to three hits. We won the game, 9-0, and ended a very successful season.
As anyone who followed the team could see, it was built around ace southpaw Bill Cary, who pitched terrifically all year. Bunky Buotte rounded out the other half of the battery doing a great job of receiving Cary's southpaw slants. The infield gave Cary good support during the year. Mal Roma was at first base, Freshman Bob Bernier was at second base and Joe Morse was at third base. Bob MacHardy, the batting star of the club, was at shortshop. The speedy outfield consisted of Larry Robicheaw, a great defensive outfielder, in left; Toots LaBrecque, a former second baseman, in center; and Dick Fortin, a transfer from Cheverus, in right. A good spot pitcher was Erlon Knight, who had a 3-0 record. Reserves who played an important part were Jackie Gaudette, Armand Caron, Wayne Worcester, Maurice Harvey, and Bob Barrows. Cary, Buotte, Robicheaw, and MacHardy were selected for the All-Telegram League Team, while LaBrecque, Morse and Fortin were given honorable mention.
A great deal of credit should be given to Coach Harlow, who brought the the team through in beautiful style. His knowledge of baseball and his love for the "world's greatest game" inspired the team throughout the season.