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John Francis Ward
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 1", Weight 185 lb.
- School McKendree University
- High School Highland (IL) High School
- Debut May 6, 1963
- Final Game June 7, 1970
- Born September 9, 1938 in Brookfield, MO USA
- Died February 24, 2012 in Kalispell, MT USA
Jay Ward signed his first professional contract with the New York Yankees in 1956, making his debut for the Kearney Yankees of the Nebraska State League. On June 30th of that year, he hit grand slams in consecutive innings for Kearney. He moved from organization to organization over his minor league career before making his major league debut for the Minnesota Twins in 1963. He also played for the team in 1964, but he was really a minor league lifer, playing over 1800 games as an infielder and outfielder in the minors and hitting over 20 home runs in a season five times. He spent one season in Nippon Pro Baseball in 1966 with the Chunichi Dragons. He hit .238/.320/.427 in 107 games. The team's primary third baseman, he had the fewest hits of any of their starting position players, though he was 4th on the team with 14 HR.
Back in the USA in 1967, he had some of his best seasons as a third baseman in the Pacific Coast League in the late 1960s, including 1969 when he led the league with 35 doubles. He got another brief shot at the major leagues with the Cincinnati Reds in 1970, but failed to stick. Overall, he hit only .163 in his three shots at the big leagues. He retired as a player after the 1971 season and managed for one year in the Twins organization before leaving the game for a decade. He was married with four children and needed a steadier source of income to support his family.
Ward came back to baseball in 1983 as manager of the Bend Phillies in the Class-A Northwest League. In 1986, he won the Eastern League championship with the Vermont Reds. He was rewarded with a job as a coach with the New York Yankees in 1987 under Lou Piniella. He returned to managing in the minors in 1988, then was hired as the Montreal Expos' minor league hitting instructor in 1990. When Tom Runnells replaced Buck Rodgers as Expos manager early in the 1991 season, Ward was promoted as the major league team's hitting coach, staying on for the 1992 season as well. He was a coach for the Prince William Cannons in 1995, then moved on to managing of various teams in independent leagues.