White Sox: The Mount Rushmore of third basemen

Phil Watson
Chicago White Sox third baseman Robin Ventura. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Kirn /Allsport
Chicago White Sox third baseman Robin Ventura. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Kirn /Allsport /
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Former Chicago White Sox manager Al Lopez. Pete Ward played for Lopez at the beginning and end of his time in Chicago. (Photo by Photo File/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

Mount Rushmore of White Sox third basemen: Pete Ward

Pete Ward was a young player attached to a much larger trade when he came to the Chicago White Sox in January 1963. He came to Chicago with future Hall of Famer Hoyt Wilhelm, with future Hall of Famer Luis Aparicio headed to the Baltimore Orioles in the six-player trade.

Ward had signed with the Orioles late in the 1958 season and had just made his big-debut in September 1962, playing in eight games, before he was traded.

He had a huge rookie year for the White Sox, hitting 22 homers with 84 RBI while batting .295 with an .835 OPS in 157 games, finishing second to teammate Gary Peters in the Rookie of the Year voting while also finishing in the top 10 in the MVP race.

He followed that up with 23 homers and 94 RBI in 1964, hitting .282 with an .821 OPS. Ward was sixth in the MVP voting that season.

Early in the 1965 season, a car he was riding in was rear-ended by another vehicle. With a sore neck and upper back that lingered, Ward’s production fell off precipitously and never really bounced back.

His hitting cost him his regular job at third base in 1966, when he hit just .219 and became a utility player. He did recover to his 18 homers in 1967, but only batted .233 with a .726 OPS, and his .216 in 1968.

In December 1969, Ward was traded to the New York Yankees for a minor-league pitcher and cash and was released by the Yankees at the end of spring training in 1971.

In seven seasons with the White Sox, Ward hit .254 with a .747 OPS in 899 games and 3,400 plate appearances. He hit 97 homers with 407 RBI and scored 339 runs.

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Ward later managed in the Yankees minor-league system, joined the Atlanta Braves as a major-league coach for two seasons and went back to minor-league coaching with the White Sox and Pittsburgh Pirates before leaving baseball in the 1980s.

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