Joe Buck issued a throwaway line during the bottom of the ninth inning of last night's Major League Baseball All-Star Game that made me take notice. He said the mother of Milwaukee Brewers shortstop J.J. Hardy was a golfer. I hadn't heard that before so I did a bit of research. It turns out Hardy's mom, Susie, was an excellent amateur golfer in the late 1970s, competing in several tournaments with the likes of Beth Daniel and Nancy Lopez. A recent USA Today article about J.J. quoted the ballplayer's father, Mark, as saying "I would have been Mr. Susan Hardy. She was the No. 2 or 3 amateur in the group with Lopez and Daniel." The story goes on to say Susie's career was derailed by carpal tunnel syndrome.
A quick search of Golf World's archives show Susie Shinn did indeed have an excellent amateur career, playing collegiate golf at Arizona and winning the Iowa Women's Amateur as an 18-year-old in 1974 and again in 1976. Shinn married Mark Hardy that December and had her best amateur season in 1977. She was T-20 in that year's AIAW championship (that's the event that predated the NCAA Division I Women's Championship) and lost in the third round of both the U.S. Women's Amateur and the Women's Western Amateur.
Susie and Mark, a tennis pro, didn't have the professional careers they may have envisioned, but J.J. certainly has excelled on the pro stage. He's tied for fifth in the National League in home runs and is a big reason the Brewers are leading the NL Central by 4-1/2 games at the break.
-- John Antonini