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Here lies Charlie Harding, whose sole appearance in the major leagues came as a relief pitcher for the Detroit Tigers on September 18, 1913. He was the second Tigers pitcher to make his first—and last—appearance in the majors that day.
Harding entered pro baseball earlier that season, starting his career for the Winston-Salem Twins of the North Carolina State League. He achieved a 12-6 record with the Twins and was picked up by the Tigers to finish out the season. The Tigers were en route to a disappointing 6th-place finish, even with future Hall of Famers like Ty Cobb and Sam Crawford in the lineup. The Tigers went through 19 pitchers that season, including three others like Harding who made just one appearance in the majors.
Erwin Renfer got the starting assignment for the Tigers on September 18 against the Washington Senators. He lasted 6 innings, allowing 4 earned runs. He left the mound, never to return to the majors, and gave way to Harding. The Senators hit him hard in his 2 innings of work, but most of the line drives were right at Tigers fielders. The @detroitfreepress said he had little “stuff” and gave up a single, double and triple. He also walked a batter. He allowed just 1 run, thanks to some good defense behind him.
Harding returned to the minor leagues in 1914 and won 16 games for the Chattanooga Lookouts of the Southern Association. He never quite reached the heights of his first two minor-league campaigns, and Harding retired from baseball after 5 seasons, with a 57-52 record and a 2.82 ERA in 143 appearances. His last season was in 1917.
Harding was a Nashville native and returned there after his baseball career. He married Emma Hemmer on November 13, 1913, and they had a son, Charles Jr., one year and one day later. Thanks to the U.S. Census, we know he was employed as a bag cutter in a cotton mill in 1920, a plant foreman in 1930 and a porter at a rayon plant in 1940. Charlie Harding died on October 30, 1971 at the age of 80. at Calvary Cemetery