The articulate Cash was an underrated second baseman who hit .300 four times and
set a number of records, some significant and some trivial. His lifetime .984 fielding
average is the NL record for second basemen.
Cash's career started slowly. In 1970
he hit .314 and showed fine range when filling in for aging All-Star Bill Mazeroski.
However, Cash's 1970-72 seasons were interrupted each July for two weeks of military
duty. Mazeroski didn't retire until after 1972, and Rennie Stennett appeared on the
scene in 1971. Cash never became an everyday player with Pittsburgh, although he
averaged almost 450 at-bats a year from 1971 to 1973 by occasionally playing third
base. His best moments with the Pirates were in the 1971 LCS, when he hit .421, set
a LCS record with eight hits in a four-game series (his 19 at-bats tied the record),
and scored five runs, including the series clincher in Game Four.
Finally, in October
1973 (with Willie Randolph coming up through the farm system to compete with Stennett
and Cash), the Pirates traded Cash to the Phillies for veteran pitcher Ken Brett.
Cash played in all the Phillies' games in 1974 and 1975 and missed only two games
in 1976. He set a since-broken ML record of 699 at-bats in 1975, and set a still-standing
record for most at-bats with no sacrifice hits. He also tied the ML record with three
consecutive seasons leading the majors in at-bats, and set the NL record for consecutive
games at second base (443).
Cash not only played every day, he played well, making
the All-Star team each year. He hit .300 in 1974, scored 89 runs, stole 20 bases,
and drove in a career-high 58; in 1975 he upped his BA to .305 while leading the
league with 213 hits, finishing second in the NL with 40 doubles and a career-high
111 runs (only one behind Pete Rose). Although his numbers fell off a bit in 1976
(.284, 92 runs), his 12 triples led the league, and he struck out only 13 times in
666 at-bats. To close out the year, he hit .308 in the LCS while the Phillies were
being swept by the Reds. His weakness as a leadoff hitter was his failure to walk
more often, but he was nonetheless one of the premier second basemen in the game.
He led NL second basemen in assists and double plays in 1974, in putouts and double
plays in 1975, and in fielding average and double plays in 1976.
After the 1976
season, Cash declared free agency and signed with the Expos. He maintained his level
of play in 1977, finishing second in assists and batting .289 with 42 doubles (second
in the NL), 91 runs, and a career-high 21 steals. But although his defense remained
strong in 1978, as he again led the NL in putouts and fielding, his hitting declined
(.252, 66 runs). Manager Dick Williams replaced Cash with Rodney Scott in 1979 despite
the protests of some players and the front office. Scott hit .238 to Cash's part-time
.321 that year, and although Scott stole 39 bases and led the NL in total chances
per game, he was weak on the double play and scored only 69 runs in 151 games. Williams's
dismissal during the 1981 season was ascribed by some to bad feelings dating back
to this controversy. Meanwhile, Cash adjusted by becoming a valuable pinch hitter
(10-for-30). That November, Cash was traded to the Padres for Bill Almon and Dan
Briggs. He finished his career with a disappointing .227 average for the last-place
Padres. After retirement he became the Phillies' minor league fielding coach.
»August 5, 1975: The first seven Phillies hit safely—good for 15 bases—against Bill Bonham (10–8)and the Cubs, in setting a ML record. No pitcher has ever started a game by allowing seven straight hits. Dave Cash leads off with a single, and Larry Bowa matches it. Garry Maddox homers over the LF fence. Greg Luzinski singles, and Jay Johnstone and Tommy Hutton follow with doubles to make it 5–0. Mike Schmidt then hits his 22nd homer to finally drive Bonham out of the game. His replacement, Ken Crosby (making his ML debut) gives up a single to Johnny Oates for the 8th straight hit. Dick Ruthven lays down a sac bunt for the first out, but three walks, two hits and a balk make it 10–0. As historian Lyle Spatz notes, the Phils last scored 10 runs in a frame on August 13, 1948. Schmidt adds a 2nd homer to help push the final to 135.
»July 30, 1978: The Expos crush the Braves 19–0, collecting 28 hits and an National League-record-tying eight home runs. Andre Dawson, Larry Parrish, Dave Cash, and Dawson again homer in the 4th inning; Parrish has a single and three consecutive home runs in the game, only the 3rd major leaguer to do it. Not till Andres Galarraga in 1995 will a hitter bang homers in three consecutive innings. The 58 bases breaks an 85-year-old record held by the Reds. Woodie Fryman conducts the win over Mickey Mahler.