Piggy Ward

From BR Bullpen

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Frank Gray Ward

  • Bats Both, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 9", Weight 196 lb.

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Biographical Information[edit]

"Frank, or better known as 'Piggy' Ward, is playing second base right up to the queen's taste. He covers lots of ground in fielding, and and he is also hitting hard." - Sporting Life's Lancaster correspondent, May 1, 1897, about Frank's play for Lancaster

Frank "Piggy" Ward is listed as reaching the majors as a 16-year-old, playing one game with the Philadelphia Quakers in 1883. There is some doubt as to whether this was actually him, or some other as yet unidentified player. It would have made him unusually young, and it was another six years until Ward appeared again in the majors, hence the doubt. Professionally, he had a very long career. His best year in the majors was 1892, when he had an on-base percentage over .400.

Ward holds the record for most consecutive times reaching base, accomplished in 1893. Remarkably, he was traded in the middle of the streak, as it began on June 16th with Ward a member of the Baltimore Orioles, and continued on June 18-19th as he played for the Cincinnati Reds. In his first game with the Reds, he reached base a record 8 times in a 9-inning game, thanks to 2 hits, 5 walks and 1 hit-by-pitch. These are Ward's two major accomplishments in an otherwise undistinguished career.

The three-game streak was only uncovered recently; until then, Ted Williams, with 16 consecutive times on base in 1957, was considered the record holder.

Ward's professional baseball career ran from 1883 to 1906, with stops practically everywhere: Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Cincinnati, and Washington in the major leagues and, in the minor leagues: Shamokin, Johnstown [PA], Allentown, Shenandoah, York, Hamilton [ONT], New Orleans (twice), Galveston, Walla Walla, Spokane (twice), Sacramento, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Altoona, Harrisburg, Scranton, Toronto, Albany, Lancaster, Mansfield [OH], Binghamton, Hartford, Worcester, Norwich [CT], Butte, Charleston [SC], Vancouver, Glens Falls, and Saratoga Springs!

Ward was seriously injured in a fall in 1909 and died three years later at age 45.

He is the only major leaguer (through 2009) remembered with the first name "Piggy" although two other major leaguers, Pat Paige and Walter French, were nicknamed "Piggy". Ward came before either of them, though.

Records Held[edit]

  • Times reaching base, nine inning game, 8 (6/18/1893)
  • Times reaching base, consecutive, 17 (6/16/1893 to 6/19/1893)

Further Reading[edit]

  • "This Little Piggy is Wrong?", in Bill Carle, ed.: Biographical Research Committee Report, SABR, March/April 2023, p. 1.
  • Chuck Hildebrandt: "Sweet! 16-Year-Old Players in Major League History", Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Vol. 48, Nr. 1, Spring 2019, pp. 5-17.
  • Trent McCotter: "Consecutive Times Reaching Base: Ted Williams Dethroned by an Unlikely Record Holder", in The Baseball Research Journal, Society for American Baseball Research, Cleveland, OH, #35 (2007), pp. 43-45.
  • Baseball History Daily article on Piggy Ward

Related Sites[edit]