Positions: Pitcher; infielder; executive
Teams: Providence Grays, 1878-1882; New York Giants, 1883-1889, 1893-1894; Brooklyn Wonders, 1890; Brooklyn Bridegrooms, 1891-1892
Manager: Providence Grays, 1880; New York Giants, 1884, 1893-1894; Brooklyn Wonders, 1890; Brooklyn Bridegrooms, 1891-1892
Managerial Record: 412-320
Monte Ward is the only Hall of Famer
who compiled more than 150 wins
as a hurler and more than
John Montgomery Ward (1860-1925) compiled 108 major-league wins before his 21st birthday. When his arm went sour, he became one of the better fielding shortstops of his time and a more than competent offensive performer, good enough to collect 2,105 hits and twice pace the National League in stolen bases.
Besides his playing credentials, Ward organized the Brotherhood of Professional Base Ball Players (an early attempt at player unionization) and was later a manager, owner, and chair of the rules committee. Few, if any, players or executives in the 19th century made a greater contribution to the game than Ward. Yet he was not selected for the Hall of Fame until 1964.
Ward’s professional debut was on July 15, 1878. A mere 18 years old at the time, he was hired by the Providence Grays of the National League.
Although the campaign was well under way by the time Ward hurled his first game, he finished among the leaders in every major pitching department. The following year, he topped the NL with 47 wins and led in strikeouts and winning percentage as the Grays copped the pennant.
On the morning of June 17, 1880, Ward tossed a perfect-game, 5-0 victory over Buffalo, missing by only five days the distinction of becoming the first pitcher to hurl a full nine-inning game without allowing a single enemy baserunner.
Two years later, he notched the longest complete-game shutout win ever, an 18-inning 1-0 triumph over Detroit. By the end of that season, however, Ward’s arm had already begun to fail, and he began the conversion to shortstop after he was sold to New York before the 1883 campaign.
Ward was appointed the field captain of the New York club soon after his arrival. During the off-season, he attended law school, graduating from Columbia in 1885. His legal training served him in good stead after he became president of the Brotherhood of Professional Base Ball Players.
In 1887, he wrote an article denouncing the reserve clause. Two years later, upon returning from a post-season world tour to find that owners had imposed a cap on players’ salaries, he organized the Players League rebellion. Many say this is what kept Ward out of the Hall of Fame for so long.
In 1891, Monte was appointed player-manager of the Brooklyn Bridegrooms. After two years with Brooklyn, he returned to the New York Giants in an identical role. Ward left the game following the 1894 season to practice law. In 1911, he bought a part interest in the Boston Braves, selling his share less than a year later.
Here are Monte Ward's major league totals:
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