But it was several years before Ward's word was back on the big screen. He wrote and directed the unsuccessful "Cannery Row" (1982), adapted from John Steinbeck's novel. Troubled from the outset when Raquel Welch was replaced by Debra Winger, it was one of the films said to have helped bring down a studio (in this case, MGM/UA). Although Ward continued to work as a screenwriter, including "The Milagro Beanfield War" (1988) directed by Robert Redford, it was not until 1989 that he directed another film. "Major League," about the locker room and playing field stories of a Cleveland team aiming to beat the Yankees, was a popular hit and spawned a sequel, "Major League II" (1994) which Ward only directed. He also wrote and directed John Goodman in the actor's first star vehicle, "King Ralph" (1991), a lame comedy about an American who inherits the throne of England. Ward had better luck with his script contributions to Nora Ephron's "Sleepless in Seattle" (1993) which netted him another Oscar nomination. He directed Kelsey Grammer (in his first feature lead) and Lauren Holly in the comedy "Down Periscope" (1996).