I got the last three bubble gum cards to finish my 1973 set earlier this month. The cheering emanating, balloons floating and empty liquor bottles strewn about were from the celebration marking the occasion at The Cardboard Examiner home office.
The Norm Cash wasn't one of those last cards; I got it early on and immediately loved it. While most of the '73 commons are Common Valor worthy, this one stands out.
And it's all about the pose. Most card batting poses depict the player staring at the camera, bat or, worse, the ground. And still others show the player rolling over his top hand in a weird, unnatural way. Cash here looks like he's having some fun, maybe mocking his home-run follow through. If he was only wearing a golf visor. Or a jester's hat. He hit a few drives during his 17-year career, 377 to be exact. He played 15 of those years in Detroit, who loved the happy-go-lucky slugger.
When he wasn't belting homers, Cash was known for some hijinks on the diamond.
- Once he was at second base when a rain delay started. When the game resumed, he went to third. The umpire asked what he was trying to pull. Cash said he stole third during the rain delay.
- Another time he attempted to call time after being picked off first.
- Occasionally he would bring the dirty infield ball to the pitcher instead of the game ball at the start of an inning.
"Whenever you mention Norm Cash, I just smile,'' Al Kaline once said.
Me, too, especially when I look at card No. 485.