Pete Ward

Peter Thomas Ward (July 26, 1937 – March 16, 2022) was a Canadian-born professional baseball player who appeared in 973 games over nine seasons in Major League Baseball as a third baseman, outfielder and first baseman for the Baltimore Orioles (1962), Chicago White Sox (19631969) and New York Yankees (1970).

Pete Ward
Third baseman / Left Fielder / First baseman
Born: (1937-07-26)July 26, 1937
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Died: March 16, 2022(2022-03-16) (aged 84)
Lake Oswego, Oregon, U.S.
Batted: Left
Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 21, 1962, for the Baltimore Orioles
Last MLB appearance
September 25, 1970, for the New York Yankees
MLB statistics
Batting average.254
Home runs98
Runs batted in427
Member of the Canadian
Baseball Hall of Fame

Ward was the runner-up for the American League (AL) Rookie of the Year Award (to pitcher and teammate Gary Peters) in 1963,[1] but was named that season's AL Rookie of the Year by The Sporting News.[2] He finished in the Top 10 in the AL's Most Valuable Player poll in both 1963 (ninth) and 1964 (sixth).[3]

Early life

Ward batted left-handed, threw right-handed, and was listed as 6 feet 1 inch (1.85 m) tall and 185 pounds (84 kg) (13 stone, 3 pounds). Born in Montréal, he was the son of former National Hockey League forward Jimmy Ward, who played 11 seasons for the Montreal Maroons and Montreal Canadiens, and who later became a longtime coach in professional and amateur hockey in Portland, Oregon.[4] Pete Ward attended Portland's Jefferson High School and played college baseball at Lewis & Clark College.

Playing career

Ward signed with the Orioles in 1958 as a shortstop, but soon moved to the outfield; although he would be known in the major leagues as a third baseman, the big-league Orioles possessed future Baseball Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson, only a month older than Ward, at the position. Ward batted over .300 at three levels of minor league baseball and won the batting title in the Class B Three-I League in 1960 with a .345 mark. After he was selected to the International League All-Star team in 1962 as an outfielder, Ward received a September trial with Baltimore; he hit .143 with two doubles in 21 at bats.

On January 14, 1963, he was included in one of the off-season's biggest transactions when the Orioles traded him, future Hall of Fame pitcher Hoyt Wilhelm, shortstop Ron Hansen and outfielder Dave Nicholson to the White Sox for shortstop and future Hall of Famer Luis Aparicio and veteran outfielder Al Smith. The White Sox installed Ward as their regular third-baseman, and he responded with a stellar rookie campaign: 177 hits (second in the league), 34 doubles (again second in the AL), 22 home runs, and a .295 batting average (fifth in the league). Chicago won 94 games and finished second to the Yankees. In 1964, Ward avoided the "sophomore jinx" by hitting .282 with 23 home runs and a career-best 94 runs batted in, as the White Sox battled the Yankees and Orioles to the wire before finishing second by a single game.

Ward's production fell off in 1965, when he hit only .247 in 138 games and, troubled by a back injury, he would fail to reach the .250 mark for the rest of his Chicago tenure. He appeared in only 84 games in 1966, and although he was able to play regularly as the White Sox' left fielder in 1967 and third baseman in 1968, only his power numbers (18 and 15 home runs) remained robust. He was traded to the Yankees in December 1969 for pitcher Mickey Scott and played a single season for the 1970 Yankees as a pinch hitter and back-up first baseman to Danny Cater, a former White Sox teammate. For his nine-year MLB career, Ward amassed 776 hits, including 136 doubles, 17 triples and 98 home runs; he batted .254 with 427 career runs batted in.

He related that during his tenure with the Sox, his team engaged in sign stealing that involved a scout on a chair next to the flagpole at center field with binoculars that would signal a pitch based on if he sat on the chair, stood up, or leaned on a pole, although Ward stated that it would sometimes mess up a hitter's swing. [5]

Manager and coach

Ward remained with the Yankees as a minor-league manager (1972–1977), then coached for one season (1978) for Bobby Cox with the Atlanta Braves, before returning to the minors, where he eventually managed his hometown Portland Beavers.[6] He was inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame, the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame,[7] and the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame.

Personal life

Ward died on March 16, 2022, at the age of 84.[8]


  1. "Chisox Gary Peters Named As the AL's Best Rookie". Lawrence Journal-World. November 29, 1963. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  2. Deitsch, Richard (July 31, 2000). "Pete Ward, Almost On SI's Cover JUNE 7, 1965". Vault. Sports Illustrated. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  3. Information at Baseball Reference
  4. Greatest Hockey Legends: Jimmy Ward
  5. "Long Before Astros, 1960s White Sox Did Real-Time Sign-Stealing". Forbes.
  6. "PIL Hall of Fame Cyber Museum: Pete Ward". Portland Interscholastic Hall of Fame. Retrieved August 30, 2007.
  7. "Pete Ward | Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum". Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. July 30, 2009. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  8. R.I.P. Pete Ward
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