Preston Ward

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Preston Ward
PrestonWard1954bowman.jpg
First baseman
Born: (1927-07-24)July 24, 1927
Columbia, Missouri
Died: June 2, 2013(2013-06-02) (aged 85)
Las Vegas, Nevada
Batted: Left Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 20, 1948 for the Brooklyn Dodgers
Last MLB appearance
August 18, 1959 for the Kansas City Athletics
Career statistics
Batting average .253
Home runs 50
Runs batted in 262
Teams

Preston Meyer Ward (July 24, 1927 - June 2, 2013)[1] was a lefty-hitting, righty-throwing first baseman/outfielder/third baseman, who played 9 seasons in the major leagues, playing in both the National and American Leagues. In the National League, he played for the Brooklyn Dodgers (1948), Chicago Cubs (1950 and 1953) and Pittsburgh Pirates (1953–1956). In the American League, he played for the Cleveland Indians (1956–1958) and the Kansas City A's (1958–1959).

Ward got opportunities in the major leagues twice—in 1948 and 1950—before finally "sticking" in 1953. He became a utility player/platoon player, seeing most of his action as a first baseman (438 games at first base vs. 95 in the outfield vs. 74 at third base).

His batting numbers are low for a first baseman. His career batting average is .253, while the league average for the years he played is .269. His highest home run total was 12, and his highest RBI total was 48. He only twice made double-digits for home runs.

There was a shortage of hitters at first base in the early 1950s. For example, in 1950, 5 National League teams gave the bulk of the playing time at first base to hitters who got less than 10 home runs apiece: (Eddie Waitkus of league champion Philadelphia had 2; Tookie Gilbert of New York had 4; Preston Ward of Chicago had 6; Johnny Hopp of Pittsburgh had 8; and Rocky Nelson of St. Louis had only 1). Despite this dearth of hitting first basemen, Ward did not manage to become a regular. The most at-bats he obtained was 416 in 1958 when he split time between Cleveland and Kansas City. His average at-bats per year were just under 230. The biggest variation from that average was in Cleveland in 1957, where he was used mainly as a pinch-hitter. That year he played in only 10 games, getting 11 at-bats and playing only one game in the field.

He was born in Columbia, Missouri, United States.

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