Ht: 6'2'' Wt: 240 Bats: Left Throws: Left
Current Cub backup 1st baseman/outfielder/pinch hitter extraordinaire Daryle Ward is the player on the roster considered the preseason favorite for the Matt Stairs Award. Daryle has a lot in common with Matt in his hefty size, his relative lack of starting time yet winning record, and his jolly behavior. Daryle also bears a great resemblance to the loveable Randall Simon, a man who was also a lefty-hitting portly first baseman that hit several key homers for the 2003 Cubs while whacking at everything that ever thought about coming near the plate. Cubs fans fond memories of both Stairs and Simon pegged Daryle as a fan favorite before he ever stepped to the plate. His performance last season sealed his place among Cubs fans favorite fatties ever.
Daryle's 2007: 79 games, 110 at bats, .327 avg., 3 hrs, 19 rbis, .436 OBP, .527 slugging.
Daryle's primary role on the Cubs was that of a pinch hitter, as he only started in 19 of his 79 games, 9 of which came at first base during Derrek Lee's neck injury early in the season and his 5 game suspension for brawling with Chris Young, and 10 in the outfield during one of Cliff Floyd's various stints on the DL. Daryle has mastered the role of National League DH quite well. Not only did he hit .327 last year as a part-time player, but as you can see he had a great OBP which would have lead the team had it qualified and he struck out just once more than he walked (23 to 22).
Daryle not only rarely played the field, but after hitting or walking his way to first base, he frequently found himself pinch-run for by Ronny Cedeno or Felix Pie. At one point Andy Dolan of Desipio.com nicknamed Daryle "The Fat Kangaroo" for as he said "That’s how he got his nickname. He’d get to first, pull little Ronny Cedeno out of his pouch, leave him on first and hop to the clubhouse for some Danish. " This spring Daryle is once again confirming his badassitude by hitting a whopping .478 with 2 hrs and 8 rbis, and has tried to make a case for more playing time as a regular this year. Until he's starting, though, Cubs fans can count on seeing the Kangaroo hop from the bench when the game is on the line.