Where are they now? Dave Cash

August 17th, 2016
Dave Cash: "All of a sudden there are 'Yes We Can' bumper stickers all over the city. It was special." (Phillies)

Dave Cash played three seasons for the Phillies. He made the National League All-Star team and received MVP votes each year. The second baseman and leadoff hitter batted .296 in red pinstripes after being acquired from the Pirates for left-hander Ken Brett before the 1974 season.

The only two games he missed came after the team clinched its first postseason berth since 1950 by beating the Expos in the first game of a doubleheader at Olympic Stadium in 1976.

Which is to say, he made significant on-the-field contributions to the milestone title the Phillies captured 40 years ago this season, a first-place finish that catapulted the team to five playoff appearances in the next six years, including the first World Series championship in franchise history four years later.

Phillies alumni

It might just be, though, that the best thing Cash ever gave the organization was the slogan that became a rallying cry.

"Yes We Can."

It started in Spring Training, when Cash and shortstop Larry Bowa went to the nearby dog track.

"[Bowa] came in and said, 'How did we do?' And I said, 'Yes we can!' And it sort of stuck," Cash recalled.

"And it seemed to just snowball after that. The next thing I know, I'm seeing the grounds crew with 'Yes We Can' on the back of their shirts, and all of a sudden there are 'Yes We Can' bumper stickers all over the city. It was special, because I had never been a part of anything that big, especially in one of the largest markets in the country."

Cash, who turned 68 in June, was a part of the growth of a team that had finished last in 1973.

"People would ask me why I was going to Philadelphia, to a last place team? I said, 'I had no choice. I got traded,'" he said with a laugh. "Because I was going to a last-place team, I guess I was supposed to be complacent. But I tried to get the guys together and say, 'Hey, we have a chance to win this thing. We've got some pretty good talent. If we can stay healthy, we've got a chance.'"

In his first year in Philadelphia, the team won 80 games and finished third. The next season, 86 wins and second. Finally, 101 wins and the end of a 26-year drought.

"It was very special, because the fans of Philadelphia were with us all the way," Cash said. "I don't think the media was with us, because all they talked about was the failure of 1964 [when the team fell short despite having a 6 1/2-game lead with 12 to play]. So it was kind of disturbing to us as players, because we thought the media would get behind us because of the way we were playing. And all the way down the stretch until we clinched it, it was always about '64.

"The players weren't involved in that, didn't know anything about that and really weren't concerned about the '64 [team]. They were mainly concerned with winning in '76, and that was our main focus."

Cash now lives in the Tampa area with his wife, Pamela, and spends most of his time savoring retirement.

"I help out my grandson's school team," he said. "I do the infield and the hitting with those guys, just to pass some time. The rest of the time I'm managing our portfolio, because we have some stocks we bought over the years. So I keep an eye on that. Other than that, I'm enjoying life. I don't have very many commitments. I have a lot of free time. I can go fishing when I want. Play a little golf when I want. I'm enjoying my retirement."

He smilingly volunteers that, for a while, he enjoyed it a little too much and ballooned to over 200 pounds. Now he's back near his playing weight of 175.

"I wasn't doing too much. Not too much exercise. I started to feel some pain in my knees and ankles. So I got back to the athletic part of me, and I started exercising and eating right," he said. "I did stretching, weight-lifting, running. Just the basic stuff. Agility drills. Things that would burn some carbs and give me some overall strength. And I transitioned from a lot of beef to more fish, chicken and turkey. I have red meat maybe once or twice a week."

After 1976, Cash became a free agent and signed with the Expos. On the 40th anniversary of the team that put the Phillies back in the postseason for the first time in a quarter of a century, though, he has nothing but fond memories of his three seasons in Philadelphia.

"It was different from Pittsburgh, because of the crowds. They only time it seemed they came out in Pittsburgh was when we got to the playoffs. But we set an attendance record [of nearly 2.5 million] that year," he said.

"What I can really remember is everybody just really rallying behind the team. It was 'Yes We Can' and 'We're going to the playoffs for the first time since God knows when.' I think it energized the city and it brought the Phillies fever back to the town."