The Minnesota Twins signed Gary Ward as an undrafted free-agent on August 29, 1972. Ward played his prep baseball at Compton High School in Compton California. He did not play college baseball. His major league début came on September 3, 1979, entering the game late as a pinch runner for Mike Cubbage. He stayed in the game playing right field in place of Hosken Powell. The Minnesota Twins wound up losing the game to the visiting Kansas City Royals at Metropolitan Stadium.
Gary Ward Career
Gary Ward spent 12 years on a major league roster, working primarily as a outfielder, playing the corner infield positions occasionally. He appeared in 1,287 games over the course of those 12 years, slashing .276/.328/.425 for his career. He peaked in 1986, slashing .316/.372/.405, while playing in 105 games for the Texas Rangers. Defensively, he owned a career fielding percentage of .985, committing a mere 44 errors in 2,929 chances during 12 years. He helped turn 21 double plays from the outfield, and owns 81 career outfield assists for put-outs.
Trades and Transfers
Twins Farm System
Gary Ward took a straight forward approach to the minors, playing a total of eight years in the Twins farm system. He started with the Geneva Twins of the New York Pennsylvania League in 1973. In 1974, he played for the Wisconsin Rapids Twins of the Midwest League, before playing 1975-1976 with the Orlando Twins of the Southern League. A promotion to Triple-A followed in 1977, and he found himself playing with the Tacoma Twins of the Pacific Coast League. He played with the Toledo Mud Hens in 1978, before splitting the 1979 and 1980 season between Toledo and Minnesota.
1981 saw him become a full-time major league ballplayer. He won American League All-Star honors in 1983, in what would be his last year with the Twins.
Texas Rangers, Free Agency, and Beyond
On December 7, 1983, the Twins traded their All-Star outfielder to the Rangers in exchange for Mike Smithson, John Butcher, and Sam Sorce. Gary Ward plied his trade with the Rangers for three years, again receiving All-Star honors in 1985. On December 24, 1986, he received a free-agency contract with the New York Yankees. In April 1989, the Yankees released him, and he subsequently signed with the Detroit Tigers. After the 1990 season, he the Tigers released him, and he found himself out of baseball.
Gary Ward is featured on card 762 of the 1987 Topps set, wearing a Rangers home jersey. In the on-deck circle, he is stretching with multiple bats. A great photo that shows a lot of character of the ball player, Ward’s jersey is open at the top. A bold black signature pops out from the card.