Gary Lamell Ward
(born December 6
in Los Angeles, California
) is a former Major League Baseball outfielder
and right-handed batter who played for the Minnesota Twins
(1979-83), Texas Rangers
(1984-86), New York Yankees
(1987-89) and Detroit Tigers
Ward was signed by the Twins as an amateur free agent in 1972 and made his debut in the 1979 season. He is the father of major leaguer Daryle Ward.
He was named American League Rookie of the Year by Baseball Digest in 1981 and followed as Twins Player of the Year and Most Improved Player in 1982. That season he batted .289, with 28 home runs, 91 runs batted in and a .519 slugging average. In 1983 he hit .278 with 19 HR and 88 RBI, and led all outfielders with 24 assists, the most for an AL outfielder since 1944. He was traded to the Rangers at the end of the season.
In his first season with Texas, Ward hit .284, with 21 HR and 79 RBI, and set a club season record with seven triples and a personal high with 97 runs scored. He led the Rangers in batting in 1985 and 1986 (.287, .316), then signed with the Yankees as a free agent. He had a great first half in 1987 but slumped badly afterwards. The following two seasons he was a part-time player, and was released by the Yankees in mid-1989 and then was subsequently signed by Detroit shortly thereafter.
A two-time All-Star (1983, 1985), Ward finished his career in 1990 with a .276 batting average, 130 home runs, 597 RBI, 594 runs, 196 doubles, 41 triples and 83 stolen bases in 1287 games played.
- On September 18, 1980, Ward become the sixth Twins player to hit for the cycle. The Twins lost 9–8 to the Milwaukee Brewers, wasting Ward's effort. On May 26, 2004, his son Daryle repeated the feat, guiding the Pirates' 11-8 victory over the Cardinals. Ward joined his father to become the first father-son combination in major league history to hit for the cycle.
- When Ward hit for the cycle that year, he did it in only the 14th game of his career, which still stands as the major league record for fewest games until hitting for the cycle. On May 13, 2007, while playing for the San Francisco Giants, Fred Lewis hit for the cycle in the 16th game of his major league career, narrowly missing Ward's mark.