Michael Giardi '94
All Around - Hall of Fame Class of 2009
Harvard Athletic Achievements
Whether in Soldiers Field Stadium or on O’Donnell Field, Michael Giardi excelled on all accounts. As a four-year baseball player, Mike had a career average of .364 and accumulated 156 hits, 25 doubles, 3 triples, 11 home runs, and 95 runs batted in. He was named twice to the All Ivy League Team and All New England Team as a short stop in 1993 and 1994. And as team captain in 1994, he was honored as the Ivy League Player of the Year after batting .457 in league play.
In addition to his successes on the diamond, Mike was a three-year starting quarterback for the Crimson girdlers. He was the two-time recipient of the team MVP award and graduated as the all-time leader in total yardage (5,059) and touchdowns scored (29). At the Senior Letterwinners’ Dinner in June of 1994, Mike was the co-recipient of the Bingham Award for Harvard’s top male athlete in 1994.
Remembering Harvard Athletics
I would like to thank the Varsity Club and the Selection Committee for this honor. I would also like to congratulate the other inductees, particularly the ones who graduated with me.
Although I was very fortunate during my four year athletic career, I did not always appreciate my time there until after I graduated. My first year out of college, I returned, as most alumni do, for the annual Harvard-Yale Football Game. I was walking through the stands with two of my good friends, Steve Gridley and Rick O’Leary, when I bumped into a fellow alumnus who graduated many years before me. He cornered me and began reminiscing about the football games he had watched me play in. I didn’t really know him, but something he said stuck with me – “Thanks for the memories.” My friends, of course, teased me and still do to this day – but receiving this honor makes me want to say to Harvard, “Thanks for the memories.”
Thank you to my roommates Tooms, Mad Dog, Dre, Shanny, Chief, Ken, Frank, Rob, and Neil, for putting up with me for all those years. Thank you to my good friend Joel Lamb, who was my coach long before he officially became one here at Harvard. Thank you to Emo and Gary and the rest of the med staff, for keeping me physically and mentally together all those years. Thank you to Doc Boland, for reminding me that my health is much more important than winning any game. Thank you to Chet Stone and Artie Clifford, for making sure I always had the best equipment, for teaching me “the in’s and out’s” of the real world (and also for teaching me some new words). Thank you to Bill Kipouras and the Salem Evening News: for making me out to be almost as good an athlete as my dad. Thank you to Johnny V and the Sports Info Department for giving me far more press than I deserved. Thank you to my baseball coaches Leigh Hogan and Pete Wilk, for giving a freshman a chance to play Division I Baseball. Thank you to my football coaches for giving a 6th string, 185 lb, freshman quarterback a chance to run one of the most complex offenses as a sophomore. Thank you to the late coach Frank Hershey for “smack em” and for telling me “that unless it is the last time you are going to be in the end zone, act like ya been there before.” Thank you to Mac Singleton for finding ways to get me the largest box lunches I had ever seen. Thank you to Coach Joe Restic – for taking a shot in me, for being my mentor, for being my friend and for teaching me how simple “Aces Right Mo Stop Mo 319 Combo Option Tight End Throwback” could be. Thank you to all the players who played with me, you made me the player I was.
Thank you most of all to my family. Thank you to Dr. Sadoski and his entire family for bringing me to Harvard football, hockey and basketball games as kid. Thank you for helping me get into Harvard and thank you for helping me get into the Hall of Fame. Thank you to my Uncle Sal for driving alone to Princeton to watch me play, even though we couldn’t find the car after the game. Thank you to my Aunt Diane for creating some of the best tailgates that anyone at Harvard had ever seen – including Ted Kennedy. Thank you to my Uncle Norman for waiting until after my first game as a sophomore to punch the referee. Thank you to my Uncle Rocco for not punching out the ref after my first game as a sophomore. Thank you to my Uncle Tom Thornton for never letting me or my Aunt Diane forget how important the Irish side of my family is. Thank you to all of my aunts, uncles and cousins for traveling to all my games, home or away, rain or shine. Thank you for waiting for me after each and every game and thank you for saving enough food for my entire rooming group.
Thank you for coming together as one family – Giardis and Thorntons.
Thank you to my mother, my father and my brother. Thank you for putting me and my athletic career ahead of almost everything. Thank you to my father for changing his high school baseball and football schedule, so that he could come watch me play. Thank you to my mother for always being there (especially after heartbreaking loss at Army my sophomore year when I had you pick me up at midnight because I just wanted to go home). Thank you, Mom and Dad, for always being in the stands and for always being there with words of support. Thank you for being you.
Thank you to my brother. Thank you for being the “Little Big Brother” that I loved to try to impress. Thank you for coming to watch me week in and week out. Thank you for allowing me to be in the limelight even though your athletic career was just as impressive if not better. Thank you for being there (especially after the Yale Game senior year when you pulled all of those celebrating Yale players off of me). Thank you for not reminding me that you have an Ivy Title Ring and I don’t. Thank you for being my Big Brother.
When I look back at my playing days at Harvard, it is not so much the plays or the games or the wins and losses that I remember, but rather it is everything in between and everything that went with them.
Thank you Harvard for the memories.