Believe It or Not: Norm Cash Plays an Entire Game at First without Recording a Put Out

Of all the statistical oddities in baseball, the rarest occurs when a first baseman plays an entire game without recording a put out.

Detroit Tigers’ Norm Cash did exactly that on June 27, 1963. That Thursday afternoon, the Tigers’ 27 outs in the team’s 10-6 loss to the Minnesota Twins, were recorded as follows: six strike outs, 11 fly balls and 10 line drives.

By comparison, the twenty perfect games pitched in Major League history are common place.

“Stormin’ Norman,” as he was fondly called by Tigers’ fans had other notable achievements in his productive career. In 1960, Cash never hit into a double play. For a slow-footed big man, that’s quite a feat.

The following year, Cash both leagues with his .361 batting average. Critics note that 1961 was the first expansion year and suggest that the diluted pitching may have attributed to Cash’s lofty average. Cash attributes his batting prowess, at least in part, to his corked bat.

After his career ended, Cash admitted to using an illegal corked bat during the 1961 season and demonstrated to Sports Illustrated how he drilled a hole in his bats and filled them with a mixture of sawdust, cork and glue. Cash’s 1961 statistics turned out to be career highs which he rarely approached again. In the following years, Cash never reached 100 runs or 100 RBI and never batted above .283. His 118-point drop to a .243 average in 1962 was the largest ever by a batting champion.

Despite his early summer game against the Twins Cash, considered an outstanding fielder, led the league the league that year in putouts for a first baseman.

Although he played in the shadow of his more famous Hall of Fame teammate Al Kaline, Cash was enormously popular with fans and the media.

In 1986 Cash, age 51, drowned in a boating accident in Northern Lake Michigan when he fell and hit his head.

6 Replies to “Believe It or Not: Norm Cash Plays an Entire Game at First without Recording a Put Out”

  1. I always liked Norm Cash, Al Kaline, Mickey Lolich and the rest of the early 70’s Tigers. I was 7 when the 1970 season started and I thought the Tigers and Tony the Tiger from Frsted Flakes were somehow the same. Of course I grew up in a Yankee/Cub household so Bobby Murcer, Roy White and Thurman Munsen were soon my players. I am think I saw a TV game in the 70’s where Randy Jones never had a flyball out recorded and never through a pitch over 80 mph.

  2. Wow, that’s pretty crazy! Not a single put out by the firstbaseman… I’m having some difficulty truly imagining that… Seriously, that’s pretty awesome.

  3. What?!? That’s incredible! I can’t help but wonder… if someone watched that game as their very first baseball experience, did every other game after that one seem weird to them that the first baseman got hold of the ball so often? Heh.

  4. An amazing feat indeed, but Detroit recorded only 24 outs in that game. The game ended after 8 1/2 innings with the home Twins in the lead. What’s more, with 18 outs recorded through the air, it is also noteworthy that Detroit left fielder Rocky Colavito had no put outs.

  5. I remember when Norm Cash died. The Detroit Tigers in the 1960’s and 1970’s were kind of an interesting team since the only year they could pull it all together was in 1968. It seemed to me that every year one of them would have a career year only to have the rest of the team have average years.

  6. March 9, 1908 Daily Home News of New Brunswick, NJ
    Sporting Queries (sent to Sporting News Editor Harold E. O’Neill)

    “…at New York, May 23, 1906, in the New York – Chicago American League game, a major league record has been made. ‘Jiggs’ Donahue of Chicago has but one chance at first base, an assist, which he accepted. This is the only case on record, that it has happened that the first basemen should go through an entire game without a put out.”

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