Sunday, February 16, 2014

Norm Cash (#540)

Norm Cash was the Tigers’ slugging 1st baseman for 15 years from 1960 to 1974. In 1961, he led the AL in hits and batting average.

Cash was signed by the White Sox in 1955, and played 2 seasons for their class D Waterloo (Iowa) White Hawks in the Illinois-Indiana-Iowa League (also known as the III, Three-I, or Three-Eye League).

Norm missed the 1957 season while in military service, then split the 1958 season between the White Sox and their AAA team in Indianapolis.


After a full season with the Sox in 1959, Cash was traded to the Indians (with 3B-OF Bubba Phillips and catcher Johnny Romano) for outfielder Minnie Minoso, catcher Dick Brown, and pitchers Don Ferrarese and Jake Striker.

Norm had no time to get settled, as Cleveland flipped him to the Tigers a week before the 1960 opener for 3rd baseman Steve Demeter, who would spend 19 years in the minors while only playing 15 games in the majors. WHAT A STEAL FOR THE TIGERS!

While Demeter’s major-league career was over on May 6, 1960, Cash went on to play 15 seasons as the Tigers’ starting 1st baseman. His 193 hits and .361 batting average led the AL in 1961. He also threw in 41 homers and 132 RBI that season.

Cash hit 30 or more homers in ’61, ’62, ’65, ’66, and ’71, and was an all-star in ’61, ’66, ’70, and ’71. He also hit .385 with 5 RBI in the 1968 World Series, and hit .267 vs. Oakland in the 1972 ALCS.

Midway through his final 1974 season, he split the 1st base duties with long-time Tigers’ catcher Bill Freehan.

Cash never wore a batting helmet during his career, having been grandfathered-in after helmets became mandatory in 1971.

After retirement, he played a few seasons of professional softball, and later broadcast Tigers’ games.

Cash drowned in northern Lake Michigan on October 12, 1986 at age 51, after slipping off a dock on Beaver Island and hitting his head.

6 comments:

Commishbob said...

Cash just seemed like a neat guy. I loved that name, so very 'baseball'. I know he used a corked bat and didn't try to use a chair leg or something once?

Hackenbush said...

Since he died so early there are no certified autos (read reasonably priced) I'm surprised there are so few relics though.

Jim from Downingtown said...

Commish,

Don MONEY and Dave CASH both played infield for the Phillies, but missed each other by 2 seasons. That would have been quite a keystone combo.

Jim from Downingtown said...

David,

I wonder if the same is true of Roberto Clemente, or maybe he was so much more famous/popular while playing that his autograph was more common than Norm Cash's.

Jeff said...

Interesting that Topps omitted his 1958 Indy stat line.

CK said...

His tombstone features a picture of him chasing a pop fly. I was at a card show once and saw an autographed copy of the photo they based it on. Very creepy.
http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=6487