John Ward

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Note: This page links to Hall of Fame pitcher/infielder John Montgomery Ward. For others with the same name, click here.

John Ward.jpg

John Montgomery Ward

Inducted into Hall of Fame in 1964

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]


"John M. Ward was the star pitcher of the country . . . when he turned his attention to playing other positions, as his arm was not strong enough to stand the strain." - Tim Murnane's comment on Ward's career

John Montgomery Ward (March 3, 1860March 4, 1925) was a 19th Century star pitcher, shortstop, manager, general manager, and attorney. As an attorney, he was involved in some of the legal controversies of the time. While later baseball histories call him Monte frequently, he was not known by that name when he played. This appears to be an error on the part of historians.

Ward was a pitcher and outfielder for his first 7 seasons and then played 11 years as a shortstop and second baseman. He also acted as player-manager and was a leader of the 1879 pennant winning Providence Grays, posting 47 victories as a 19-year-old pitcher. Ward, together with Ned Hanlon, formed the first baseball players union, The Brotherhood of Professional Baseball Players, in 1885, successfully challenging the player reserve clause. He also was one of the leads in forming a new baseball league - the Players League - which lasted one year. Throughout his career, Ward played with many of the legendary 19th century ballplayers including Charles Radbourn, Roger Connor, Buck Ewing, James "Tip" O'Neill and Dave Orr.

0291fr john ward ballcard.jpg

Born in Bellefonte, PA, Ward entered the National League with the Providence Grays in 1878 and played that season exclusively as a pitcher, going 22-13 with 1.51 ERA. Over the following two seasons, while seeing increasing time in the outfield and at third base, Ward had his two finest seasons as a pitcher, going 47-19 with 239 strikeouts and a 2.15 ERA in 1879 and 39-24 with 230 strikeouts and a 1.74 ERA in 1880. Perhaps more remarkably, he pitched nearly 600 innings each year (587.0 in 1879 and 595.0 in 1880).

Ward moved to the New York Gothams (renamed the Giants in 1885) in 1883, completed his transition from a pitcher to an everyday player in 1884, and became the everyday shortstop in 1885. Ward played for the Brooklyn Ward's Wonders in 1890 in the short-lived Players League before returning to the National League to play for the Brooklyn Grooms in 1891 and 1892. Ward finished his career after playing the 1893 and 1894 seasons with the New York Giants. He accumulated 1408 runs, 26 home runs, 867 RBI and a .275 batting average, including three seasons batting over .300.

One interesting fact of Ward's career was he pitched the second perfect game in baseball history, both occurring within a six-day period. Pitching for Providence against the Buffalo Bisons on June 17, 1880, Ward retired 27 batters in a row, striking out two, and won, 5-0. Lee Richmond had thrown baseball's first perfect game just five days before, on June 12th. The next perfect game by a National League pitcher wouldn't happen for 84 years, when Jim Bunning pitched a perfect game on Father's Day in 1964.

In the 1880s he was married for a spell with Helen Dauvray, one of the leading stage actresses of the time. His teammate Tim Keefe married Helen's sister, thus the two were brothers-in-law. Keefe served as his deputy in the Brotherhood from 1885 to 1890, as the Association's secretary while Ward was President. In 1907, Ward was noted for having a beautiful country home in Babylon, NY and "is attaining fame as one of the leading golfers of the United States" per this article. He was listed as being well-to-do and prosperous at the time.

Ward retired from baseball at age 34 in order to enter the legal profession. As a successful lawyer he represented baseball players against the National League. Later he was part owner (with James E. Gaffney) and team president of the Boston Braves franchise in 1911-1912. He then became an official in the short-lived Federal League in 1914.

Ward also managed parts of seven seasons (1880, 1884, 1890, 1891, 1892, 1893, 1894), accumulating 412 wins and 320 losses for a .563 winning percentage. He worked one National League game as an umpire in 1888.

He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Committee on Baseball Veterans in 1964.

Some or all content from this article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "John Ward".

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • NL At Bats Leader (1887)
  • 2-time League Singles Leader (1887/NL & 1890/PL)
  • 2-time NL Stolen Bases Leader (1887 & 1892)
  • NL ERA Leader (1878)
  • NL Wins Leader (1879)
  • NL Winning Percentage Leader (1879)
  • 2-time NL Saves Leader (1879 & 1882)
  • NL Strikeouts Leader (1879)
  • NL Shutouts Leader (1880)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 5 (18887, 1890 & 1892-1894)
  • 50 Stolen Bases Seasons: 5 (1887 & 1889-1892)
  • 100 Stolen Bases Seasons: 1 (1887)
  • 20 Wins Seasons: 3 (1878-1880)
  • 30 Wins Seasons: 3 (1879 & 1880)
  • 40 Wins Seasons: 1 (1879)
  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 6 (1878-1883)
  • 300 Innings Pitched Seasons: 4 (1878-1881)
  • 400 Innings Pitched Seasons: 2 (1879 & 1880)
  • 500 Innings Pitched Seasons: 2 (1879 & 1880)
  • 200 Strikeouts Seasons: 2 (1879 & 1880)
  • Baseball Hall of Fame: Class of 1964

Preceded by
Jim Price
New York Gothams Manager
Succeeded by
Jim Mutrie
Preceded by
Bill McGunnigle
Brooklyn Grooms Manager
Succeeded by
Dave Foutz
Preceded by
Pat Powers
New York Giants Manager
Succeeded by
George Davis

Year-By-Year Managerial Record[edit]

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs Notes
1880 Providence Grays National League 18-13 -- Providence Grays Replaced Mike McGeary (8-7) on June 1
Replaced by Mike Dorgan on July 27
1884 New York Gothams National League 6-8 4th New York Gothams Replaced Jim Price (56-42) on September 23
1890 Brooklyn Ward's Wonders Players League 76-56 2nd Brooklyn Ward's Wonders
1891 Brooklyn Grooms National League 61-76 6th Brooklyn Grooms
1892 Brooklyn Grooms National League 95-59 3rd Brooklyn Grooms
1893 New York Giants National League 68-64 5th New York Giants
1894 New York Giants National League 88-44 2nd New York Giants

Records Held[edit]

  • Lowest on-base percentage allowed, pitcher, career (minimum 1500 innings), .254

Further Reading[edit]

  • Larry Bowman: "A Celebrity Allegory: Fame, indeed for John Montgomery Ward", in The National Pastime, SABR, Number 20 (2000), pp. 90-92.
  • Bryan Di Salvatore: A Clever Base-Ballist: The Life and Times of John Montgomery Ward, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD, 1999.
  • James Hawking: Strikeout: Baseball, Broadway and the Brotherhood in the 19th Century, Sunstone Press, Santa Fe, NM, 2012.
  • David Stevens: Baseball's Radical for All Seasons: A Biography of John Montgomery Ward, Scarecrow Press, Lanham, MD, 1998.
  • John Montgomery Ward: Base-Ball: How to Become a Player, SABR, Tucson, AZ, 2014. ISBN 978-1-933599-61-8 (originally published in 1888)

Related Sites[edit]