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Preston Ward

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Preston Meyer Ward

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Primarily a first baseman, Preston Ward played nine seasons in the big leagues.

Originally signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers, Ward began his pro career in 1944. With the Pueblo Dodgers in 1947, he hit .325 with 17 home runs and led the Western League with 121 RBIs and 120 runs scored. He reached the majors the next year as Brooklyn's Opening Day first baseman in 1948, but soon lost his job to Gil Hodges. After hitting .260 with 1 homer in 42 games through the end of June, he was back in the minors with the Mobile Bears. He spent the entire 1949 campaign with the Fort Worth Cats, hitting .303 with 13 home runs.

Following the 1949 season, Ward was acquired by the Chicago Cubs. Splitting time at first base with Phil Cavarretta in 1950, he hit .253 with 6 homers. He then missed the next two seasons due to military service during the Korean War. With Dee Fondy now the Cubs' regular first baseman, he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates in June of 1953 as part of a ten-player deal that brought Ralph Kiner to Chicago. In 121 games between the two clubs, he hit just .215 but posted a career-best 12 home runs. The next year, 1954, seeing time at first base, rightfield, and third base, he hit .269 with 7 homers in 117 games.

Early in the 1956 season, Ward was dealt to the Cleveland Indians for Hank Foiles, and he spent much of the following year back in the minors with the San Diego Padres of the Pacific Coast League. He started 1958 back with Cleveland, hitting .338 in 48 games but was traded to the Kansas City Athletics along with Roger Maris in June. In a career-high 129 big league games that year, he hit .284 with 10 home runs, and on September 9th, he hit 3 homers in 3 at-bats against the Baltimore Orioles. He finished his career with the Athletics in 1959.

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