Hidden Gems in the Gem City
Daryle Ward: Dayton Dragons Hitting Coach
Daryle Ward returned to the Dragons as hitting coach in 2022 after serving in the same position in Dayton in 2017-18 and 2021. He is in his seventh year in coaching in the Cincinnati Reds organization. He served as the hitting coach with the Reds affiliate in the Arizona League in 2016 and with the Chattanooga Lookouts in 2019. He had been slated to coach in Chattanooga in 2020 prior to the cancellation of the season.
Ward played professionally for 22 seasons from 1994-2015. He spent seven full seasons and parts of four others in the Major Leagues, primarily as a left fielder and first baseman. Ward played in 948 big league games with the Astros, Dodgers, Pirates, Nationals, Braves, and Cubs. His best season came in 2002 with Houston when he appeared in 136 games and batted .276 with 31 doubles, 12 home runs, and 72 runs batted in. He connected on a career-high 20 home runs in 2000 with the Astros. In the later stages of Ward’s Major League career, he emerged as one of the National League’s top pinch hitters. He led all of baseball in pinch hits and runs batted in as a pinch hitter in 2006 while finishing tied for first in pinch hit home runs. Ward played in 2,318 professional games before retiring at the age of 40 following the 2015 season.
Ward, 46, was originally signed by the Tigers as a 15th round draft pick in 1994 out of Rancho Santiago College in California. He is a native of the Los Angeles area and now makes his offseason home in Riverside, California. His father, Gary Ward, was a Major League All-Star selection with both the Twins and Rangers as part of a 12-year Major League playing career.