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The Varied Baseball Exploits of Monte Ward

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  • The Varied Baseball Exploits of Monte Ward

    John Montgomery Ward was born in Bellefonte, PA in 1860. He was kicked out of Penn State, where he played baseball, at 13. His parents died at 14. He had to quit school and became a traveling salesman but shortly quit and returned to his hometown. It seems he worked odd jobs and played semi-pro ball for money until he resurfaced in 1878 with Binghamton in the I.L. and was signed by the N.L.'s Providence Grays. Here are Ward's noteworthy accomplishments and what he did during his life:

    Providence Pitcher and Utility Man:
    1878: 18 year old rookie went 22-13 with a league leading 1.51 ERA and ERA+, 4th in WAR among all players in a little over half a season with second place Providence.

    • He began his long foray into being a utility player by playing spotty games everywhere but catcher for the next 6 seasons before playing SS for 7 years.

    1879: 47-19 record and led baseball in wins, W%, GF and K's for pennant winning Providence. 16 games at third base, 4 in LF and hit .286 with 71 runs in 354 AB's, 3rd in WAR among all players.

    • Ward is the greatest teenage pitcher ever. He holds the record for wins, starts, IP, CG, SHO, ERA, FIP and WAR before the age of 20.
    • Providence would finish second in his final three seasons with the club.

    1880: Still record youngest player to pitch a perfect game, defeating Pud Galvin, which was the second all-time just five days after the first. 39-24 record and led baseball in shutouts. 25 games at third base and hit just .238 with 53 runs in 356 AB's, 2nd in WAR among all players. Went 18-13 as one of three managers.

    1881: Went 18-18 in 35 starts as he transitioned to 13 games at SS and 36 in RF due to his arm becoming injured while he was sliding into a base. Led the league in games played but hit just .244 in 357 AB's.

    1882: Pitched the longest CG, SHO in MLB history blanking Detroit 1-0 in 18 innings. Went 19-13 in 33 starts with 47 games in RF but still hit just .245 in 355 AB's.

    • Ward led baseball in WAR from his debut through 1882. He was the 3rd best pitcher according to WAR and was 1st in wins, 3rd in starts and IP, 2nd in ERA, 1st in FIP.
    • He was sold to the New York Giants for their inaugural season as the Gothams in the offseason.

    Becoming the New York Giants SS and Leadoff Man:
    1883: Went 16-13 in 29 starts and led baseball with 9 games finished. Played 45 games in center field and hit .255 in 380 AB's.

    • Through his final season as a pitcher at age 23 he currently ranks 3rd in wins, 8th in ERA, 3rd in IP, 4th in starts and CG, 11th in K's, 15th in FIP, 11th in WAR among pitchers with at least 400 IP.

    1884: Hurt his arm running the bases again ended his pitching career with a 3-3 record on the year and 47 games logged at second base. He learned to throw left handed to play CF the rest of the year in 59 games. Managed the last 16 games of the year. Hit .253 with 98 runs in 482 AB's.

    1885: Graduated from Columbia Law School. Formed the first ever players union in any sport called the Brotherhood of Professional Base Ball Players. Ward gained the right of the players to negotiate as a free agent if they were asked to take a pay cut by the previous years club. Played first full season at SS. Hit a paltry .226 in 446 AB's as New York finished second.

    1886: His hitting picked up as he hit .273 with 81 RBI and 82 runs in 491 AB's in third place.

    1887: Got married to actress Helen Dauvray. The Giants finished 4th. Ward hit .338 with 114 runs, was 2nd in position player WAR and led the league in games, at bats, and 111 steals while leading SS in Fld%.

    • Ward wrote one of the first baseball books Base-Ball: How to Become a Player With the Origin, History and Explanation of the Game in which he interview many members or the original Knickerbocker Club among other old pre-Civil War figures and is one of the earliest sources of information on them.

    Labor Problems, Pennants and P.L.:
    1888:
    Giants won World Series and trophy named the Dauvray Cup after his wife in which he hit .379 in 29 AB's through the ten game series. He hit just .251 in 510 AB's.

    • After the season he and some other players went on a barnstorming tour. The owners took advantage of his absence to meet and agreed to create a rigid classification system for paying players and a $2500 maximum salary. The Giants then sold Ward to the Washington Nationals for a record $12,000. Ward was furious and left early. He refused to report to Washington unless he received a large portion of the sale price. The teams nullified the deal. The owners wouldn't meet to talk about the classification system until after the season.

    1889: At age 30 in his 13th season Ward hit .299 with 62 steals for the repeat World Series winning Giants in which he hit .417 in 36 AB's against crosstown rival Brooklyn beginning the Dodgers v. Giants rivalry.

    • This off-season Ward made one of the most audacious moves in sports history. He used his business connections to round up owners for the Players League. The league had no reserve clause and a profit sharing system for the players. Most importantly more than half the N.L.'s players and all of the best were in the P.L. Due to the players getting a share of the profits the owners sold out to the N.L. in secret even though the P.L. outdrew the N.L.

    1890: Ward managed the club he owned Brooklyn Ward's Wonders to a second place finish with a .335 average, 63 steals and 134 runs in 561 AB's.

    • Ward was allowed to stay with the Brooklyn N.L. club per an agreement with the N.L. instead of returning to his previous team as most players did. He would be a player/manager the rest of his career.

    Return to the National League:
    1891: Hit .277 with 85 runs in 441 AB's as they finished 6th at 61-76.

    • Among SS from 1885-1891 Ward finished 2nd in games, 1st in PA's, 1st in runs, 2nd in hits, 6th in RBI, 1st in SB (by 79), 3rd in BA, 1st in BsR (by 13), 3rd in DRS, 2nd in WAR to Glasscock.

    1892: Hit .265 with a league leading 88 steals, 109 runs in 614 AB's and moved to second base for the rest of his career while Brooklyn improved to 3rd at 95-59 adding Dan Brouthers, Bill Joyce and Tommy Corcoran.

    • He requested to be traded back to the Giants to whom he was sold for $6000.

    1893: Hit .328 with 77 RBI, 129 runs in 588 AB's in a league leading 135 games the Giants finished 5th at 68-64.

    1894: Hit .266 with 79 RBI, 102 runs in 549 AB's in a 2nd place finish at 88-44 just 3 GB of Baltimore. The two teams played in a postseason series known as the Temple Cup which they lost to Baltimore 3 games to none. Apparently some of the Giants cheated Baltimore players out of their money which was to be split 50/50. This tainted the award and it never caught on.

    • As a position player from 1884-1894 Ward is 4th in games and PA's, 7th in runs, 4th in hits, 24th in RBI, 4th in SB, 5th in BsR, 6th in DRS, 14th in WAR.
    • He retired from playing after the 1894 campaign.
    • Here is a brief career summary:

    Only player with 100+ wins and 2000+ hits. His 62.3 career WAR is tied for 161st all-time. Interestingly his transitions from pitcher to fielder and player/manager took place with 3 different towns:

    Pitcher - mostly with Providence:
    164-103 record for 614 W%
    262 starts and 245 CG
    2469 IP
    119 ERA+
    28.1 pitching WAR

    Hitter - mostly with the Giants:
    2107 hits
    1410 runs
    231 doubles
    96 triples
    540 steals (only recorded from age 26 on)
    34.3 WAR as a position player

    Manager - mostly with Brooklyn clubs:
    412-320 overall in 7 seasons

    • After his career he frequently was employed as a lawyer for player disputes. I'll try to come up with some. If anyone else knows of any instances feel free to post.

    1902: Giants star SS/manager George Davis was on thin ice after a 52-85 1901 season. Ward was his lawyer and was talking to the upstart White Sox. Ward came to terms with them and the Giants didn't protest because Andrew Freedman wanted to move Davis anyhow. Davis had a really good year and newly minted New York manager John McGraw wanted him at shortstop and Ward got him a 2 year contract that would make him the second highest paid player in baseball behind Nap Lajoie. The problem was he had to jump back to the N.L. The move threatened to destroy a recent peace deal and the recently proposed, potentially lucrative World Series between the two leagues. Charles Comiskey sued and Ward argued in favor of Davis, of course - his client, and thus McGraw and Freedman. However Comiskey won a couple injunctions and Davis ultimately played just 4 games for New York and none otherwise all year before returning to Chicago to great success and a World Series win for the remaining 6 years of his career.

    1910: Ran for N.L. President but finished in a 4-4 tie with Louisville newspaper man Robert Brown. He stepped down when long time umpire Tom Lynch was proposed as a compromise. Filed $50,000 libel lawsuit against Ban Johnson who said the A.L. would not meet in council with the N.L. if Ward were elected due to Ward's involvement in the George Davis affair. Ward was rewarded $1000 when Johnson loudly perjured himself.

    1911: Became part owner and president of the Boston Braves but stepped down a year later after disagreements with his co-owner James E. Gaffney.

    1914: Business manager i.e. president and GM of Federal League Brooklyn Tip-Tops.

    "...he proposed giving a $4000 auto to every member of the team that won the Federal League pennant. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/l...14/ed-1/seq-3/ $4000 in 1914 equates to about $102,000 in 2019. Wow." - layson27

    • Retired from baseball in April 1915.
    Last edited by bluesky5; Yesterday, 08:57 AM.
    "No matter how great you were once upon a time — the years go by, and men forget,” - W. A. Phelon in Baseball Magazine in 1915. “Ross Barnes, forty years ago, was as great as Cobb or Wagner ever dared to be. Had scores been kept then as now, he would have seemed incomparably marvelous.”

  • #2
    In 1914 he proposed giving a $4000 auto to every member of the team that won the Federal League pennant. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/l...14/ed-1/seq-3/
    $4000 in 1914 equates to about $102,000 in 2019. Wow.
    Last edited by layson27; 11-10-2019, 09:06 AM.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by layson27 View Post
      In 1914 he proposed giving a $4000 auto to every member of the team that won the Federal League pennant. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/l...14/ed-1/seq-3/
      $4000 in 1914 equates to about $102,000 in 2019. Wow.
      Thank you sir.
      "No matter how great you were once upon a time — the years go by, and men forget,” - W. A. Phelon in Baseball Magazine in 1915. “Ross Barnes, forty years ago, was as great as Cobb or Wagner ever dared to be. Had scores been kept then as now, he would have seemed incomparably marvelous.”

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      • #4
        Originally posted by bluesky5 View Post

        Thank you sir.
        I also found a bio from 1914 written by "Monty" (who says he. isn't a relative). Ward's feud with Ban Johnson features prominently.
        https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/l...21/ed-1/seq-2/

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        • #5
          Great stuff guys, thank you for sharing.
          Jacquelyn Eva Marchand (1983-2017)
          http://www.tezakfuneralhome.com/noti...uelyn-Marchand

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Jar of Flies View Post
            Great stuff guys, thank you for sharing.
            He was really renowned for his defense at shortstop. I haven't sorted through defensive numbers yet.
            "No matter how great you were once upon a time — the years go by, and men forget,” - W. A. Phelon in Baseball Magazine in 1915. “Ross Barnes, forty years ago, was as great as Cobb or Wagner ever dared to be. Had scores been kept then as now, he would have seemed incomparably marvelous.”

            Comment


            • #7
              https://archive.org/stream/baseballh...ge/n7/mode/2up

              Author of baseball also...I don't think it was ghost written.
              Take me out to the ballgame. Take me out to the crowd. Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks. I don't care if I never get back. LET ME ROOT, ROOT, ROOT FOR THE CUBBIES. This Space For Rent

              Play the Who am I? game in trivia and you can make this signature line yours for 3 days (baseball signatures only!)

              Go here for a link to all player links! http://www.baseball-fever.com/forum/...player-threads

              Go here for all your 1920's/1930's OF info

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Toledo Inquisition View Post
                https://archive.org/stream/baseballh...ge/n7/mode/2up

                Author of baseball also...I don't think it was ghost written.
                Yea, when I found out he wrote that book I decided to make this thread. Couldn't believe he did even more. Without Ward having the presence of mind to record these things before it was too late we'd know much less about the creation of the sport. But holy cow man I can't believe it's out there like that. You're awesome. About to do some reading about the old base ball men tossing the pill and gallivanting about the garden of eden. What an absolute legend. Start with Herodotus and Homer and work your way up to Chadwick and Spalding...

                It may or it may not be a serious reflection upon the accuracy of history that the circumstances of the invention of the first ball are enveloped in some doubt. Herodotus attributes it to the lyydians, but several other writers unite in con- ceding to a certain beautiful lady of Corcyra, Anagalla by name, the credit of first having made a ball for the purpose of pastime. Sev- eral passages in Homer rather sustain this latter view, and, therefore, with the weight of evidence, and to the glory of woman, we, too, shall adopt this theory. Anagalla did not apply for letters patent, but, whether from goodness of heart or inability to keep a secret, she lost no time in making known her invention and explaining its uses. Homer, then, relates how

                ''O'er the green mead the sporting virgins play, Their shining veils unbound; along the skies, Tost and retost, the ball incessant flies."

                And this is the first ball game on record, though it is perhaps unnecessary to say that it was not yet base-ball.
                Last edited by bluesky5; Yesterday, 04:54 PM.
                "No matter how great you were once upon a time — the years go by, and men forget,” - W. A. Phelon in Baseball Magazine in 1915. “Ross Barnes, forty years ago, was as great as Cobb or Wagner ever dared to be. Had scores been kept then as now, he would have seemed incomparably marvelous.”

                Comment

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