John Montgomery Ward

John Montgomery Ward (March 3, 1860 – March 4, 1925), known as Monte Ward, was an American Major League Baseball pitcher, shortstop, second baseman and manager.[1][2] Ward was born in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, and grew up in Renovo, Pennsylvania.[3] He led the formation of the first professional sports players union and a new baseball league, the Players' League.

John Montgomery Ward
John Montgomery Ward
Shortstop / Second baseman / Pitcher
Born: March 3, 1860
Bellefonte, Pennsylvania
Died: March 4, 1925 (aged 65)
Augusta, Georgia
Batted: Left Threw: Right
MLB debut
July 15, 1878, for the Providence Grays
Last MLB appearance
September 29, 1894, for the New York Giants
MLB statistics
Batting average.275
Home runs26
Runs batted in867
Stolen bases540
Win–loss record164–103
Earned run average2.10
As player

As manager

Career highlights and awards
Member of the National
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Election MethodVeteran's Committee

Early life

Ward attended the Bellefonte Academy in the early 1870s, and at 13 years of age, he was sent to Pennsylvania State University. In his short time there, he helped jumpstart a baseball program and is often credited for developing the first curveball.[4] However, he was kicked out of school for pushing an upperclassman, who attempted to haze him, down a flight of stairs, and stealing chickens.[5]

The following year, in 1874, his parents James and Ruth[6] died. He tried to make it as a travelling salesman, but when that proved unsuccessful, he returned to his hometown. There, he rediscovered baseball.[3] In 1878, the semiprofessional team for which he was playing folded, which opened the door for him to move on to a new opportunity. He was offered a contract to pitch for the Providence Grays of the still new National League, an all-professional major league that had begun its operations in 1876.[3]

Providence Grays

Ward's first season with the Grays was a successful one, going 22–13 with a 1.51 ERA. He played that season exclusively as a pitcher, but during the following two seasons he played increasingly in the outfield and at third base.[2] Ward had his two finest seasons as a pitcher, going 47–19 with 239 strikeouts and a 2.15 ERA in 1879 and 39–24 with 230 strikeouts and a 1.74 ERA in 1880. He pitched nearly 600 innings each year (587.0 in 1879 and 595.0 in 1880).[2] As a 19-year-old pitcher, he won 47 games and led the 1879 Providence Grays to a first-place finish.[7]

In 1880, he began to play other positions. On June 17, 1880, Ward pitched the second perfect game in baseball history, defeating future Hall of Famer Pud Galvin and the Buffalo Bisons, 5–0.[3] Lee Richmond had thrown baseball's first perfect game just five days before, on June 12. The next perfect game by a National League pitcher would not happen for 84 years, when Jim Bunning pitched a perfect game in 1964.[8] Ward also expanded his leadership role to include managing when he became a player-manager for the team's final 32 games, winning 18 of them, as the Grays finished in second place.[1][5]

The seasons of 1881 and 1882 were the first in which he played more games in the outfield than he pitched. This was due to a nagging arm injury he originally incurred sliding into a base.[3] He still pitched well when he did pitch, winning 37 games over those two seasons and having ERAs of 2.13 and 2.59 respectively,[2] and on August 17, 1882, he pitched the longest complete game shutout in history, blanking the Detroit Wolverines 1–0 in 18 innings.[3] By this time, however, the Grays felt his best days were behind him and sold their former ace hurler to the New York Giants.

New York and reserve clause

Ward moved to the New York Gothams (renamed the Giants in 1885) in 1883. An injury to his right arm while running the bases during the 1884 season ended Ward's pitching career. As he could not wait for his arm to heal before he returned to the field, he taught himself to throw left-handed so he could play center field for the remainder of the 1884 season.[9] He replaced Jim Price as the Giants' manager for the final 16 games of the 1884 season.[9]

With his arm fully recuperated, he became the everyday shortstop in 1885.[10]

Monte Ward, New York Giants, baseball card portrait LOC 3971750600
John Montgomery Ward baseball card, 1887

Ward graduated from Columbia Law School in 1885 and led the players in forming the Brotherhood of Professional Base Ball Players, the first sports labor union. Ward and the players had become frustrated with the owners' reserve clause, which allowed them to sign players to one-year contracts and then not allow them to negotiate with other teams when those contracts expired. The players felt that the owners had absolute power. At first, the players had some success, gaining the freedom to negotiate with other teams when they were asked to take a pay cut by their current team.[3] In October 1887, Ward married actress Helen Dauvray.[10]

In 1888, after the Giants had finished first in the National League,[11] and had won a playoff series known today as a "World Series", they played the St. Louis Browns of the American Association for the "Dauvray Cup", which was named after Ward's wife. Ward and a group of all stars then headed off on a barnstorming world tour. The owners held their winter meetings, and created a classification system that would determine a player's salary. Under the system, the most a player could earn was $2,500. The Giants then sold Ward to the Washington Nationals for a record price of $12,000. Ward was furious and left the tour early. He then demanded a meeting with the owners, and said he would refuse to play for Washington unless he received a large portion of his record sale price. Washington eventually refused payment on the transaction, nullifying the deal.[3]

The owners denied Ward's request for a meeting to discuss the new classification system, saying no talks would be held until after the upcoming season. Though Ward and the union fought hard for these issues, this did not distract him or his Giants team, as he hit .299 and helped the Giants capture their second-straight "World Series" title in 1889.[3][12]

Amidst Ward's commitments as a ballplayer and union organizer, he still found time for a third occupation, that of author. His 1888 book, Base-Ball: How to Become a Player, with the Origin, History and Explanation of the Game was the first published effort to explore baseball's development from its early roots.

The Players' League

Ward realized that negotiations with the owners were going nowhere and threatened to create a Players' League. The owners thought of it as nothing more than an idle threat but had failed to realize Ward's connections in the business community, and he began to launch the new league. This new Players' League included a profit sharing system for the players and had no reserve clause or classification plan.[3]

The season began in 1890 with over half of the National League's players from the previous year in its ranks.[3] Ward acted as a player-manager for the Brooklyn club, nicknamed the Ward's Wonders, and finished seventh in the league with a .335 batting average.[2] While the Players' League drew well at the box office, the teams' owners grew nervous when the money did not come in as expected because of the profit sharing system. Soon they began holding secret meetings with their National League counterparts and, one by one, sold their teams to the rival league.[3]

John M. Ward baseballcard
1887 baseball card

Later career

Due to an agreement after the dissolution of the Players' League, Ward stayed in Brooklyn as player-manager for the National League team, the Brooklyn Grooms. Following the 1892 season, Ward expressed his desire to return to the Giants and was sold to his former club for $6,000. Following the 1894 season, he retired at the age of 34. He finished his career with a .275 average, 2,104 hits, and 540 stolen bases. He is the only man in history to win over 100 games as a pitcher and collect over 2,000 hits.[3]


Ward retired from baseball at age 34 in order to enter the legal profession. As a successful lawyer he represented baseball players against the National League. Later he acted as president and part-owner of the Boston Braves franchise and became an official in the short-lived Federal League in 1914, acting as the business manager of the Brooklyn Tip-Tops.[3]

In the last quarter century of his life, Ward's sporting passion became golf. He won several championships around New York, played all over Europe, and competed regularly in the United States Golf Association U.S. Amateur. He finished second in the prestigious North and South Amateur Championship at Pinehurst Country Club in North Carolina in 1903. The North and South Amateur was the equal of any major golf event at the turn of the century. The first North and South event took place in 1901. Ever the organizer, he was one of the founders of the New York Golf Association and the Long Island Golf Association.

Ward died in Augusta, Georgia, the day following his 65th birthday on March 4, 1925 after a bout of pneumonia,[13] and is interred in Greenfield Cemetery in Hempstead, Long Island, New York.[14] He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1964.[15]

See also


  • Stein, Fred (2002). And the Skipper Bats Cleanup: A History of the Baseball player–manager, with 42 Biographies of Men Who Filled the Dual Role. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland. ISBN 0-7864-1228-3.
In-line citations
  1. ^ a b "John Montgomery Ward's managerial statistics". Retrieved 2007-11-17.
  2. ^ a b c d e "John Montgomery Ward's career statistics". Retrieved 2007-11-17.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Simply Baseball Notebook: Legends". Archived from the original on May 6, 2006. Retrieved 2007-11-17.
  4. ^ Dreier, Peter; Elias, Robert (11 July 2017). "Out of Left Field". Jacobin. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
  5. ^ a b Stein, p. 35
  6. ^ 1860, 1870 US Federal Census Bellefonte, Centre, Pennsylvania 1860 Child Montgomery born Mar 1960.
  7. ^ "1879 Providence Grays team page". Retrieved 2007-11-17.
  8. ^ "Perfect games by pitchers:Box scores". Retrieved 2007-11-17.
  9. ^ a b Stein, p. 36
  10. ^ a b "Who Was Baseball's Most Interesting Character? Monte Ward, by Mike Attiyeh". Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-11-17.
  11. ^ "1888 New York Giants team page". Retrieved 2007-11-17.
  12. ^ "1889 New York Giants team page". Retrieved 2007-11-17.
  13. ^ "John Montgomery Ward's Obituary". New York Time, Thursday, March 5, 1925. Archived from the original on September 29, 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-17.
  14. ^ "John Montgomery Ward's Hall of Fame profile". Archived from the original on 2007-06-08. Retrieved 2007-11-17.
  15. ^ "John Montgomery Ward's career statistics". Retrieved 2007-11-17.

External links

Preceded by
Lee Richmond
Perfect game pitcher
June 17, 1880
Succeeded by
Cy Young
Preceded by
Lee Richmond
No-hitter pitcher
June 17, 1880
Succeeded by
Larry Corcoran
1882 Providence Grays season

The Providence Grays hired veteran manager Harry Wright to guide the team in 1882 and the team seemed to improve. They held first place until September 17, but then suffered a losing streak that dropped the team into second place.

After the season ended, they played a three-game postseason series against the Boston Red Caps for the "Championship of New England." Providence won the series, two games to one, thanks to shutouts pitched by John Montgomery Ward and Hoss Radbourn.

1888 New York Giants season

The 1888 New York Giants season was the franchise's 6th season.

Claiming six future Hall of Famers (Roger Connor, Mickey Welch, Buck Ewing, Tim Keefe, Jim O'Rourke, and John Montgomery Ward), the team won the National League pennant by nine games and defeated the St. Louis Browns in the "World's Championship."

Keefe led the league in several major statistical categories, including wins, winning percentage, strikeouts, and earned run average.

1890 Brooklyn Ward's Wonders season

The 1890 Brooklyn Ward's Wonders baseball team was a member of the short lived Players' League. They compiled a 76–56 record, good for second place. The team was named by the press for their manager, John Montgomery Ward, who helped to organize the Players' League. After the season, the league folded, and the Wonders were bought out by the National League's Brooklyn Bridegrooms.

1891 Brooklyn Grooms season

The 1891 Brooklyn Grooms (the name was shortened from "Bridegrooms" this season) started the year with real estate mogul George Chauncey purchasing a controlling interest in the ballclub to join Ferdinand Abell and Charles Byrne in the ownership group. The former owner of the Brooklyn Ward's Wonders in the now defunct Players' League, Chauncey organized a merger of his team with the Grooms, forcing the firing of manager Bill McGunnigle (despite his winning two league championships) and replacing him with former Wonders manager and shortstop, John Montgomery Ward. The new owner also thought the team could generate larger revenue from a bigger stadium, so they decided to move the team to his stadium, Eastern Park. Games would be split between the new facility and old Washington Park during the 1891 season and the team would move full-time in 1892. With all the turmoil, the team fell back into the pack, finishing the season in sixth place.

1893 Brooklyn Grooms season

The 1893 Brooklyn Grooms finished a disappointing seventh in the National League race under new player/manager Dave Foutz. The highlight of the year was when pitcher Brickyard Kennedy became the first major leaguer to pitch and win two games on the same day since the mound was moved back to 60 feet. He allowed just eight hits in beating the Louisville Colonels 3–0 and 6–2 in a doubleheader on May 30, 1893.

1903 U.S. Open (golf)

The 1903 U.S. Open was the ninth U.S. Open, held June 26–29 at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, New Jersey, west of New York City. Willie Anderson won the second of his four U.S. Open titles in a playoff over David Brown. The championship was played on the original course at Baltusrol, now known as the Old Course, which no longer exists.

Anderson led after each of the first three rounds, with a six-shot lead after 54 holes, but carded 82 in the final round on Saturday afternoon. Brown's 76 equaled them at 307 total, eight strokes clear of the field. The playoff was moved to Monday because Sunday was reserved for member play, and was played in a heavy rainstorm. Anderson took a two-stroke lead at the turn, but Brown managed to tie after 14. At the next hole, Brown made a seven after his tee shot went out of bounds, but Anderson only gained a single stroke after three-putting for a six. At 16, Brown made a six to Anderson's five, and both made fours on the last two holes; Anderson ended at 82, two shots ahead.Anderson had won in 1901 and was the first to win the U.S. Open twice; it was the first of three consecutive titles, a feat yet to be repeated. His four U.S. Open wins set a record which has been equaled by three others: Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, and Jack Nicklaus.

Donald Ross, who would become known as one of the greatest golf course architects, designing several courses that hosted future U.S. Opens, had his best U.S. Open finish with a 5th place showing. Baseball Hall of Famer John Montgomery Ward played in his first of two U.S. Opens here, finishing in 56th place.

The Old Course at Baltusrol hosted the U.S. Open again a dozen years later in 1915, then was plowed under three years later in 1918 by course architect A. W. Tillinghast to create the Upper and Lower Courses.

1912 Boston Braves season

The 1912 Boston Braves season was the 42nd season of the franchise. Team owner William Hepburn Russell died after the 1911 season and his stock was bought up by a group including James Gaffney and former baseball manager John Montgomery Ward. The team was renamed the Boston Braves after the Tammany Hall Braves.

1964 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting

Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1964 followed the system introduced for even-number years in 1962.

The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) voted by mail to select from recent major league players with provision for a second, "runoff" election in case of no winner. The runoff was necessary this year, with Luke Appling the winner.

Meanwhile, the Veterans Committee was meeting annually to consider executives, managers, umpires, and earlier major league players.

It selected six people: Red Faber, Burleigh Grimes, Miller Huggins, Tim Keefe, Heinie Manush, and John Montgomery Ward.

Further, the eligibility of retired players was reduced from having retired thirty years prior to election to twenty.

Brooklyn Gladiators

The Brooklyn Gladiators were a Major League Baseball team in the American Association during the 1890 season. They finished ninth and last in the league with a 26-73 record.

The Gladiators were managed by Jim Kennedy and played their home games at Ridgewood Park. Their top-hitting regular was first baseman Billy O'Brien, who had a .278 batting average, a .415 slugging percentage, and led the club by far in RBIs with 67. Their best pitcher was Ed Daily (10-15, 4.05), who was also their starting right fielder when he was not pitching.

The Gladiators lasted for one season only, a year when Brooklyn boasted three professional ballclubs: Also competing for local fans' interest were the National League's first-place Bridegrooms, who had been Brooklyn's American Association club from 1884 to 1889, and the Brooklyn Ward's Wonders of the Players' League, managed by future Hall of Famer John Montgomery Ward. By August, there were rumors that club management, frustrated by a lack of public interest, would move the struggling team to Washington, D.C. That midseason move never came to pass, and while 1891 did see the addition of the Washington Statesmen to the American Association's final season, neither Kennedy nor any Gladiator players were on the squad.

Of the 23 men who played for the Gladiators, only three—Daily, second baseman Joe Gerhardt, and third baseman Jumbo Davis—played professionally beyond the 1890 season. None played past July 1891.

Brooklyn Ward's Wonders

The Brooklyn Ward's Wonders were a baseball team who played in the Players' League in 1890. The team's nickname derived from its superstar shortstop, hall of famer John Montgomery Ward. The team finished with a 76-56 record, finishing in second place. Other notable players for Brooklyn that year were Dave Orr, Lou Bierbauer, George Van Haltren, and Gus Weyhing. The team folded after the season along with the entire league. The team played its home games at Eastern Park.

George Chauncey (executive)

George Chauncey was an American businessman in the later part of the 19th century. He was a native of Brooklyn, New York and a baseball fan. He got into the sport by financing the formation of a team in the Players' League of 1890 that became known as Brooklyn Ward's Wonders after Manager and Shortstop John Montgomery Ward. Chauncey also financed the construction of a stadium for the Wonders in Brownsville, called Eastern Park. The team and the league lasted only one season. In 1891, Chauncey arranged a merger of his team with the National League's Brooklyn Grooms. The deal saw him accumulate a large share of the Grooms stock and he convinced the other owners to leave their previous home at Washington Park for his facility at Eastern Park.

He also insisted that manager Bill McGunnigle, who had just won two league championships, be fired and replaced with Ward, which the other owners, desperate for his cash, agreed to.

Chancey's time as owner of the Brooklyn team came to an end in 1897 when he sold his shares in the team to the other owners Ferdinand Abell and Charles Byrne.

Germany Smith

George J. "Germany" Smith (April 21, 1863 – December 1, 1927) was an American Major League Baseball player from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Primarily a shortstop, Smith played for five teams in 15 seasons. He made his major league debut for Altoona Mountain City of the Union Association in 1884. After Altoona's team folded after just 25 games, he jumped to the Cleveland Blues of the National League. After the 1884 season, Cleveland then sold him, along with 6 other players, to the Brooklyn Bridegrooms for $4000.On June 17, 1885, Smith reportedly committed seven errors intentionally, when his team decided to punish new pitcher Phenomenal Smith, losing the game 18-5. All 18 runs against the brash left-hander were unearned‚ due to a total of 14 Brooklyn "errors". "Phenomenal" gave himself his nickname before he joined the team‚ saying that he was so good that he did not need his teammates to win. The intentional misplays of his teammates caused club President Lynch to fine the guilty players $500 each‚ but he reluctantly agreed to release Smith to ensure team harmony.A reliable shortstop in the days when a fielding average below .900 could lead the league, he did lead the American Association in 1887, with an .886 average. When the AA folded in 1890, Smith and most of his teammates transferred to the National League's new Brooklyn franchise. In 1891, John Montgomery Ward took over as manager and shortstop, effectively ending Smith's career with Brooklyn, so he left and joined the Cincinnati Reds. There he led NL shortstops in assists each year from 1891 to 1894. Smith later returned in 1897, when Cincinnati and Brooklyn swapped shortstops, with Tommy Corcoran moving to the Reds.His major league career came to end after the 1898 season, when he played just 51 games for the St. Louis Browns, and moved on to play for the Minneapolis Millers of the Northwestern League for the 1899 and 1900 seasons.Smith died at the age of 64 in Altoona, Pennsylvania, from injuries when struck by an automobile, and is interred at Calvary Cemetery in Altoona.

John Montgomery Ward's perfect game

John Montgomery Ward, pitcher for the Providence Grays, pitched a perfect game against the Buffalo Bisons by retiring all 27 batters he faced on Thursday, June 17, 1880. This event took place in the Messer Street Grounds in Providence, Rhode Island.

List of Major League Baseball annual stolen base leaders

Major League Baseball recognizes stolen base leaders in the American League and National League each season.

List of Major League Baseball career fielding errors leaders

In baseball statistics, an error is an act, in the judgment of the official scorer, of a fielder misplaying a ball in a manner that allows a batter or baserunner to advance one or more bases or allows an at bat to continue after the batter should have been put out.

Herman Long is the all-time leader in errors, committing 1,096 in his career. Bill Dahlen (1,080), Deacon White (1,018), and Germany Smith (1,009) are the only other players to commit over 1,000 career errors. Tommy Corcoran (992), Fred Pfeffer (980), Cap Anson (976), and John Montgomery Ward (952) are the only other players to commit over 900 career errors.

Matt Cain's perfect game

On June 13, 2012, Matt Cain of the San Francisco Giants pitched the 22nd perfect game (no opposing batters reach first base) in Major League Baseball (MLB) history and the first in Giants' franchise history. Pitching against the Houston Astros at AT&T Park in San Francisco, California, Cain retired all 27 batters that he faced and tallied 14 strikeouts, tied for the most strikeouts in a perfect game with Sandy Koufax of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1965. Following Philip Humber's perfect game earlier in 2012, Cain's performance marked just the third season in MLB history in which multiple perfect games were thrown. In June 1880, Lee Richmond and John Montgomery Ward both threw perfect games; in May 2010 Dallas Braden and Roy Halladay both accomplished the feat.Two notable defensive plays by Cain's teammates kept the perfect game intact. Melky Cabrera made a running catch at the wall in left field in the top of the sixth inning, while Gregor Blanco made a diving catch in right-center field to start the top of the seventh.It was the first Giants no-hitter since left-hander Jonathan Sánchez threw one on July 10, 2009, against the San Diego Padres at AT&T Park. The Astros were no-hit for the fifth time in franchise history, and the first time since Carlos Zambrano threw a no-hitter for the Chicago Cubs on September 14, 2008 at Miller Park (Milwaukee) (moved from Minute Maid Park because of Hurricane Ike). It was the second time the Astros were no-hit by the Giants; Juan Marichal did it on June 15, 1963. It was also the first time in Astros history that no one reached base safely.

Cain surpassed his previous personal best of 12 strikeouts in a single game, which he set in 2006. Cain's 125 pitches were the most thrown in a Major League perfect game. The Giants recorded 10 runs, the most by any team in a perfect game. By scoring a run in the 5th inning, Cain became the only pitcher to have scored a run in his perfect game.

The final out was made by Astros pinch-hitter Jason Castro. Castro chopped a 1-2 pitch to third base where it was fielded deep behind the bag by third baseman Joaquin Arias. Arias successfully made the long throw across the diamond to first baseman Brandon Belt, who then tucked the ball in his back pocket before joining his teammates on the mound in celebration.

Players' League

The Players' National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs, popularly known as the Players' League (sometimes rendered as Players League), was a short-lived but star-studded professional American baseball league of the 19th century. It emerged from the Brotherhood of Professional Base-Ball Players, the sport's first players' union.

The Brotherhood included most of the best players of the National League. Brotherhood members, led by John Montgomery Ward, left the National League and formed the Players' League after failing to change the lopsided player-management relationship of the National League.

The PL lasted just the one season of 1890, and the Boston franchise won the championship. Although known to historians as the Players' League, newspapers often reported the standings with the shorthand titles of "League", "Association" and "Brotherhood". The PL was well-attended, at least in some cities, but was underfunded, and its owners lacked the confidence to continue beyond the one season.

In 1968, a committee appointed by Major League Baseball Commissioner William Eckert ruled that the Players' League was a major league.

Providence Grays

The Providence Grays were a Major League Baseball team based in Providence, Rhode Island who played in the National League from 1878 until 1885. The Grays played at the Messer Street Grounds in the Olneyville neighborhood. The team won the National League title twice, in 1879 and 1884. Following the 1884 season, they won the first World Series over the New York Metropolitans of the American Association. The team folded after the 1885 season.

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