Pete Ward

Pete WardWard was a throw-in player in the deal that brought Hoyt Wilhelm to the White Sox from Baltimore before the 1963 season. The trade proved to be one of the best in the history of the White Sox, with Wilhelm giving his typical brilliant performance out of the bullpen for the Southsiders and Ward turning into a valuable offensive weapon for the club in the 1960s.

Ward was first and foremost a hitter: he could always hit the ball. He hit .321 with good power in five seasons in the minor leagues. In ’63 he finally got a chance to play everyday in the majors and he responded with 22 homers, 34 doubles, and 84 RBIs as the ChiSox’ third baseman. He finished second to teammate Gary Peters in AL Rookie of the Year Award voting. The following season, Ward hit 23 homers and increased his RBI total to 94, finishing sixth in MVP voting.

In 1965, Ward suffered a serious neck injury in a car accident and saw his power cut in half. He never really recovered to hit the ball as well after the accident.

The second deadball era took a toll on Ward’s output: in 1966 he hit .219, and in 1968 (The Year of The Pitcher), he batted .216 as a jack-of-all-trades who spent time at third, second, and in the corners of the outfield. That was the last full season for Ward, who was sent to the Yankees in 1970 and was released after one partial season, ending his big league career at 32.