His name was Norman Dalton Cash, but Detroit Tigers fans knew him better as either Norm or Stormin’ Norman. In 1961, the big Texan captured the imaginations of Detroiters as he posted an amazing .361 batting average, hit 41 home runs, had 132 RBI, scored 119 runs and compiled a .662 slugging percentage.
How’d he do it? He corked his bat.
Don’t take my word for it. Take his. Cash was very open and honest about his illegal use of cork in ’61. “I owe my success” Cash said, “to expansion pitching, a short right-field fence, and my hollow bats.”
The 1961 season was an incredible one for the Tigers and the American League. The Tigers won an impressive 101 games, but finished second to the New York Yankees by 8 games. Cash’s heroics made the season magical and has made him a legend in the minds of Tigers fans to this day. His #25 jersey continues to be among the best sellers for former Tiger players.
In 1962, Cash stopped using his corked bats because he feared being caught. His batting average dropped a whopping .118 points to .243. It remains the largest consecutive season BA slide in Major League history for a batting champion.
Sadly, Norm Cash’s life ended prematurely on October 12, 1986 as he drowned just off Beaver Island in northern Lake Michigan. He was only 51 years old.