Stormin’ Norman and the Corked Summer of ’61

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.”

Norm CashThe 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.

One reply on “Stormin’ Norman and the Corked Summer of ’61

  • Karen Elizabeth Bush

    Cork or no cork, look hard at game films and you’ll notice a major difference between Norm’s batting stance in 1961 (when he hit .361) and all other years. All during that magical season, he spread out at the plate…sometimes more so than others. One of his mannerisms as he waited on the pitcher involved tugging on his left pantleg. If the tug resulted in a hip high pleat which stayed there because of the tension of a wider stance, he generally got a hit. If the pleat fell out, he’d not hit. It was so obvious on television and at the park, my mom and I never figured out why Cavaretta or any of the other coaches never spotted it.

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