The photo of former Tiger slugger Norm Cash that accompanies this article (see image below) is extremely rare because he is wearing the uniform of the 1960 Cleveland Indians, a team that he would never play for in the regular season.
The image also offers an early glimpse of Cash’s famous sense of humor as he cools off for the camera with his feet in a water bucket, a Popsicle in hand and a cold pack on his head during spring training in March of 1960.
When the shot was taken Stormin’ Norman was hardly a household name. But for his funny pose, it’s a wonder that Cash was even photographed.
Norm had only played in two major league seasons with the Chicago White Sox (’58 and ’59) where he had a total of 112 at bats, 27 hits, 1 home run, 16 rbi’s and a .241 batting average before being traded to the Indians in a multi-player deal on Dec. 6, 1959.
The Topps Baseball Card Company had taken his photo in a Cleveland baseball uniform for their 1960 set but they had to change the team name at the last minute to the Detroit Tigers. Just as Cleveland was leaving spring training he was traded to the Tigers on April 12, 1960 for infielder Steve Demeter in what turned out to be one of the greatest steals in baseball history.
The Tigers would give the Texan the opportunity to play regularly for the first time.
In 1960 he appeared in 121 games and batted a solid .286 with 18 home runs and 63 rbi’s.
That same year Demeter would appear in just four games with five at bats and no hits and would never play again in the majors again.
A year later Cash went on to win the batting title with a .361 average, 41 home runs and 132 rbi’s and turn into a home run hitting machine while becoming the preeminent first baseman in the American League during the 1960s.
To a man, his Tiger teammates say Norm was the most popular and well liked player on the team. His sense of humor always kept the players loose and the fans laughing.
Here is just a sample of Cash’s numerous funny antics.
As the last batter to face Nolan Ryan for his second no hitter on July 15, 1973, Cash was not allowed to use the table leg he brought to the plate. “Why not, I won’t hit him anyway,” the slugger told home plate umpire Ron Luciano. After retrieving a bat, Cash struck out on three pitches, smiled, and said to Luciano, “See, I told ya.”
He once jokingly tried to call time out making a “T” with his hands while caught between bases in a run down and then tried to pull one over on the umpires after a rain delay.
Cash was on second base when a game was delayed during a rainstorm. When play resumed Cash was standing on third. The umpire said: “what are you doing here?” Cash said: “I stole third.” “When did that happen?” the umpire asked. “During the rain delay” he said with a smile.
This rare photo of a 25 year old Cleveland Indian is priceless and so was Stormin’ Norman.