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Norm Cash

From Academic Kids

Norman Dalton Cash (November 10, 1934 - October 12, 1986) was a Major League Baseball first baseman and left-handed batter who played for the Chicago White Sox (1958-1959) and Detroit Tigers (1960-1974). He was born in Justiceburg, Texas. He attended San Angelo Junior College, where he played football as well as baseball.

Cash filled the middle of the Tigers lineup for 15 seasons. He came to Detroit after a deal with the Cleveland Indians that turned out to be one of the worst transactions in baseball history. The White Sox let go him to Cleveland prior to the 1960 season, and not realizing what he had, the Indians G.M. Frank Lane traded Cash to the Tigers for Steve Demeter four months later. Both Chicago and Cleveland were haunted by Cash for the next 15 years, as he won a batting title and a World Series ring in a Detroit uniform.

Cash enjoyed a breakout season in 1961 batting a league-best .361, with 41 home runs, 124 runs batted in, 119 runs scored, 193 hits, 124 walks for .488 on base percentage, a .662 of slugging average, but it was overshadowed by the 61 home runs of Roger Maris. Some have attributed some of the gaudy hitting statistics of 1961 to the league expansion that year, which resulted in a dilution of pitching talent.

Even on his own team, Cash was overshadowed by his future Hall-of-Fame roommate Al Kaline. Although he never hit above .283 for the rest of his career, Cash hit 30 or more homers five times, 20 or more eleven times, including nine straight seasons between 1961-69. Also, he was considered one of the best defensive first baseman in the 1960s. He led the league in putouts (1961), fielding percentage (1964, 1967) and assists (1965-67).

Cash was a career .271 hitter with 377 home runs, 1103 RBI, 1046 runs, 1820 hits, 241 doubles, 41 triples, 43 stolen bases, .374 on base percentage, and a .488 of slugging average in 2089 games. Beside this, Cash hit .385 (10-26) with one home run in the 1968 World Series, and he batted .304 (14-46) with two homers and seven RBI in 16 career post-season games. On first base, he had a overall total of 15157 putouts, 1317 assists and only 131 errors in 16605 chances, for a .991 of fielding percentage. Beyond his statistics, Cash was a favorite with his teammates, the media, and Tiger fans; he was known for his sense of humor; in one famous episode, while he was a baserunner, he attempted to call time out when he was about to be tagged out.

Norm Cash drowned in a fatal accident off a Beaver Island, northern Lake Michigan, when he slipped on a boat, fell, and struck his head. He was 51 years old.

Highlights

  • 4-time All-Star (1961, 1966, 1971-72)
  • Led league in batting average (1961)
  • Top 10 MVP (4th, 1961)
  • 9-time top 10 home run title (1961-63, 1965-68, 1971-72)
  • Twice won the AL Comeback Player of the Year Award (1965, 1971)

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