Daryle Ward - Professional Career

Professional Career

Ward came to the Houston Astros in December 1996 as part of a ten-player trade with Detroit. During the 1999 AAA Home Run Derby in his home stadium of Zephyr Field in New Orleans, he won the Home Run Derby. The next day, he hit a 3 run home run in the All Star Game, leading the PCL to victory after joining the team as a last minute replacement. His home run outshone Russell Branyan's paltry solo home run in the same game. He debuted in 1999, hitting 8 home runs in 150 at bats. In 2000, he hit 20 home runs in just 264 at-bats. In his third season for the Astros, Ward batted .263 with 9 home runs and 39 RBI in 95 games. The next year, 2002, he batted .276 with 12 home runs and 72 RBIs in 136 games. On July 6 of that year, he became the first (and remains, to date, the only) player to hit a home run out of Pittsburgh's PNC Park and into the Allegheny River "on the fly" during a regular-season game; the shot, a grand slam, came off Pittsburgh's Kip Wells. Many Home Runs have made the river on the bounce, and several home runs hit during the 2006 Major League Baseball Home Run Derby made the river on the fly as well, creating speculation of juiced balls.

After the season the Astros traded Ward to the Los Angeles Dodgers. He spent 2003 in a part-time role, hitting .183 with one extra base hit (a double) in 109 at-bats. After the season, the Dodgers released Ward, and the Pirates signed him as a minor league free agent. Ward played better in 2004, and the Pirates re-signed him for 2005 as their part-time first baseman. Ward has signed on to become a member of the Chicago Cubs bench for 2007. In 549 career games played, Ward has batted .259 (384-1485), with 65 HRs, 254 RBI, 155 runs, 80 doubles and four triples, with an on base percentage (OBP) of .306 and slugging percentage (SLG) of .447.

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