Son of Montreal Maroons hockey star, Jimmy Ward, Pete Ward was born in Montreal, before moving to Portland, Oregon when he was eight years old. In 1958, the Baltimore Orioles signed him and he toiled in Vancouver during his first professional season.

After five seasons in the minors, the talented Canuck made his big league debut with the Orioles on September 21, 1962. In his first at bat, he hit a two-run single against the Twins. During that off-season, Ward was traded to the Chicago White Sox in a blockbuster deal that would bring Luis Aparicio to Baltimore. In his inaugural campaign in the Windy City, he was transformed into a third baseman. In 157 games that season, he hit .295, socked 22 home runs and finished second in the American League to Carl Yastrzemski in hits. He was named The Sporting News American League Rookie of the Year for his efforts.

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