- LF, OF, RF, 1B, DH
- Stormin' Norman
- November 10, 1934
- 185 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 6-18-1958 with CHA
Texan Norm Cash was a free-spirited, good-time loving country boy, who hit 377 career homers and won the 1961 American League batting title. He filled the middle of the Detroit Tiger lineup for 15 seasons, hitting as many as 20 homers 11 times. The Tigers acquired him in a deal with the Indians that turned out to be one of the most lopsided in baseball history.
#31 (1958), #38 (1959), #25 (1960-1974)
It took Detroit three years to find an everyday replacement for Cash at first base. Bill Freehan, Jack Pierce, Nate Colbert, and Dan Meyer failed to fill his shoes, before Jason Thompson emerged in 1976.
Cash led the AL in batting at .361, which was 37 points ahead of his teammate Al Kaline, who was second. Cash also led the loop in OBP (.487), OPS, and hits (193). His accomplishment was later marred by his admission that he had used corked bats in '61, but not all of his success can be discounted. The two expansion teams added in that season helped drive up offense all over the league.
Norm Cash won the American League Comeback Player of the Year Award twice: in 1965 and 1971.
Norm Cash's 118-point drop in batting average from 1961 to 1962 (.361 to .243) is the largest by a batting champion in baseball history.
Before 1955 Season: Signed by the Chicago White Sox as an amateur free agent; December 6, 1959: Traded by the Chicago White Sox with Bubba Phillips and Johnny Romano to the Cleveland Indians for Minnie Minoso, Dick Brown, Don Ferrarese, and Jake Striker; April 12, 1960: Traded by the Cleveland Indians to the Detroit Tigers for Steve Demeter; August 7, 1974: Released by the Detroit Tigers. The White Sox let Norm Cash go to Cleveland in 1959, and not realizing what they had, the Indians traded him to the Tigers for outfielder Steve Demeter prior to the 1960 season. Both the ChiSox and the Tribe were haunted by Cash for the next 15 years, as he belted 373 homers, won a batting title, and a World Series ring in a Detroit uniform.
Patience: Cash walked 1,043 times, just 48 less times than he struck out in his career. He had a very good .374 career OBP.
Durability, hampered by his life style. He didn't take very good care of himself, and he always missed 15-20 games a year. The only exceptions were 1961, 1966 and 1967.
Cash was famous for his after-hours activity, and his sense of humor was legendary. On July 15, 1973, as California's Nolan Ryan was working on his second career no-hitter, Cash went to the plate in the bottom of the ninth with two outs with a table leg instead of a bat. The stunt drew immediate action by the umpire, who ordered Cash to use a legal bat, but the fans loved it. After his playing career ended, Cash admitted that it was an illegal bat that helped him to his amazing 1961 season. He demonstrated how he had drilled a hole in his bats and filled it with a mixture of sawdust, cork and glue.
Cash enjoyed a breakout season in 1961, batting a league-best .361 with 41 homers and a .662 slugging percentage. The rowdy Texan never came within 75 points of that batting average or 130 points of the slugging mark again, but he was very successful. In 1962 he hit 39 homers, second to Harmon Killebrew in the Junior Circuit, and he finished runner-up in that category twice more. He was one of the most feared left-handed sluggers of the 1960s and early 1970s, leading southpaw swingers three times in homers... Cash drowned in a terrible boating accident off an island in northern Lake Michigan in 1986. He was 51 years old.
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- 1968 World Series, All Star, Baseball History, Chicago White Sox, Detroit Tigers, Norm Cash, Tiger Stadium