Really, I was just thrilled to pitch with my favorite baseball player of all time, Pedro Martinez. I also loved having another of my favorite players, Nomar Garciaparra of my hometown Red Sox in my lineup. Beyond that, though, I wasn't nearly the hardcore Red Sox fan that I would later become. My Red Sox teams looked very different than what the rosters that came with the game offered.
Hardball 6 was released in 1998, but I didn't purchase the game until 1999, the year I truly got into baseball after watching Pedro Martinez strike out three in a row to start the All-Star Game at Fenway, and two punch-outs in his second inning. I was so blown away by his dominance that I started to watch every game he pitched. It wasn't long after that I fell in love with the game itself, and thus, leading to the purchase of this game.
I also soon purchased Microsoft Baseball 2000, but that and its sequel, Microsoft Baseball 2001, are another matter altogether. My dedication to Hardball 6 greatly overshadowed pretty much every other baseball game I had, though. I'm pretty sure that before EA released the MVP Baseball series, I never played any other baseball game nearly as much as Hardball 6.