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John Montgomery Ward

"Let the pitcher be alive . . . [let him] use his brain as well as his muscle."

John Montgomery Ward (1860–1925)
Law 1885
Hall of Famer

Monte Ward's plaque in Cooperstown reads as follows: "Pitching pioneer who won 158, lost 102 games in seven years. Pitched perfect game for Providence of N.L. in 1880. Turned to shortstop and made 2,151 hits. Managed New York and Brooklyn in N.L. President of Boston, N.L. 1911–1912. Played important part in establishing modern organized baseball."

Yet this inscription only tells half of the story. John Montgomery Ward was one of the most accomplished and popular baseball players of the nineteenth century. He also authored one of the first and still best-regarded primers on baseball, How to Become a Player, in 1888. But perhaps his most lasting contribution was his efforts in forming first the Brotherhood of Professional Base Ball Players, a precursor of today's Major League Players Association, and then the Player's League, a separate league set up to challenge the owners of the National League, who ran professional baseball. Although during his lifetime he was unable to overcome the reserve clause, which in effect bound a player to his team for life, his efforts would, ultimately three quarters of a century later, result in the end of the reserve clause and the free-agency system of present-day baseball. After his playing days were over, Ward became a successful Manhattan attorney. In 1964 he was posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Submitted by Rudy Carmenaty, Law 1990, who is solely responsible for the content.

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