John Ward

John Montgomery Ward
Inducted to the Hall of Fame in: 1964
Primary team: New York Giants
Primary position: Shortstop

"Players have been bought, sold and exchanged as though they were sheep instead of American citizens," John Montgomery Ward said.

Ward was a bright child that attended Penn State University at the age of 13. But tragedy struck the following year, when both of Wards parents died and he was forced to quit school and support himself. He tried to make it as a traveling salesman, but quit after two weeks and discovered baseball.

He played on semipro teams for a few years and did odd jobs on the side before his big break came with the Providence Grays in 1878. That year, as an 18-year-old pitcher, he led the National League with a 1.51 ERA on his way to a 22-13 season over 37 starts and 334 innings.

In 1880, Ward was the second pitcher in baseball history to throw a perfect game.

Babe Ruth wasn't the only Hall of Famer that was known for pitching and hitting. Ward was a pitcher and outfielder for his first seven seasons before a nagging arm injury forced a move over to shortstop and second base for the next 11 years.

Ward acted as a player-manager, managing parts of seven seasons. He attended law school in the offseason and earned a law degree from Columbia in 1885 and a political science degree in 1886.

He put the degrees to good use by fighting for players' rights and set up the first-ever players union in 1885, successfully challenging the player reserve clause, which bound players to one team for long periods of time. In 1887, he reportedly talked Giants owner John Day into signing Negro League pitcher George Stovey, but when other owners and players complained, Day backed off.

Ward retired from baseball at age 34 to continue with his legal career. He represented baseball players against the National League and later acted as president of the Boston Braves franchise. He died in 1925 and was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veteran's Committee in 1964.

"There was a time when the National League stood for integrity and fair dealing," Ward said. "Today it stands for dollars and cents. Once it looked to the elevation of the game and an honest exhibition of the sport; today its eyes are on the turnstile."

"No player before or after his day on the diamond ever did more to bring the sport to its present high standing and popularity. He was considered the model ballplayer of the century. "
Sam Crane, NY Journal

Career stats

ESSENTIAL STATS
Year Inducted: 1964
Primary Team: New York Giants
Position Played: Shortstop
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
Birth place: Bellefonte, Pennsylvania
Birth year: 1860
Died: 1925, Augusta, Georgia
Played for:
Providence Grays (1878-1882)
Brooklyn Ward's Wonders (1890)
Managed:
Providence Grays (1880)
Brooklyn Ward's Wonders (1890)
New York Giants (1893-1894)
CAREER AT A GLANCE
GamesG
1827
At BatsAB
7656
RunsR
1410
HitsH
2107
Doubles2B
231
Triples3B
96
Home RunsHR
26
RBIRBI
869
Stolen BasesSB
540
WalksBB
421
Batting AverageBA
.275
OPSOPS
.655
On Base %OBP
.314
Slugging %SLG
.341