William Walker Cash
Nicknames: Bill, Ready
Positions: c, 1b, 3b, of
Teams: Philadelphia Stars (1943-1950), Mexican League (1950), Canadian League (1951), minor leagues (1952-1953)
Height: 6' 2'' Weight: 195
Born: February 21, 1919, Round Oak, Georgia
A rugged receiver with a strong arm and a perfect peg to second base, he broke in with the Philadelphia Stars in 1943 with an impressive .321 batting average to go with his defensive skills. The next half-dozen seasons (1944-1949) he hit .282, .244, .237, .276, .290, and .268, and earned a spot on the All Star team the latter two years. He entered the 1948 game as a substitute, but caught the entire 1949 East-West game, calling the pitches in the East's two-hit shutout of the West Stars. In 1946 Cash was scheduled to be a member of Satchel Paige's All-Star team that barnstormed against Bob Feller's All-Stars in an autumn series, but Cash broke his thumb and was unable to play.
On opening day in 1946, Cash was involved in an incident during a closely contested game against the Newark Eagles. The Eagles' Leon Day was in the process of pitching a no-hitter, but the game was scoreless. With Larry Doby on second base, Lennie Pearson hit a one-hop shot to shortstop, and when the ball was thrown to first base, Doby rounded third and tried to score. The ball was relayed home and Cash blocked Doby off the plate and made the tag. However, the umpire ruled him safe and Cash jumped to his feet and, in protesting the call, the umpire was knocked to the ground. While the ump was on his hands and knees, Stars' manager Goose Curry, who had raced in from his spot in right field, kicked the felled arbiter. Cash was thrown out of the game, fined $25, and suspended for three days. Some observers feel that the catcher received an unwarranted stigma from the incident that may have followed him into organized baseball when he made the transition four years afterward.
In 1950, only a few games into the season, the eight-year veteran left the Philadelphia Stars to play with the Mexico City Red Devils, registering a .311 average with 15 homers. From Mexico he traveled to Granby in the Canadian Provincial League, hitting .296 with 16 homers, despite being frequently issued free passes to first base. In 1952, after the color barrier was lifted, he played in the White Sox organization, splitting an injury-plagued season between the Waterloo Whitehawks of the Three-I League (.228) and Superior of the Northern League. At Waterloo he suffered from bursitis in his shoulder and broke his leg sliding into second base to break up a double play.
In 1953 he played with the Brandon Braves in the Mandak League and hit .347. For the next three years he played in the Dominican Republic, with his best year coming with the San Diego Eagles in 1954, when he hit .297. He closed out his career the following year with Licey, batting .230. Sandwiched between these two winters was a year with Bismarck, North Dakota, a strong semi-pro team that featured Ray Dandridge.
During Cash's career he also played in other Latin American leagues. He hit .214 in the 1947-1948 Cuban winter league. In Venezuela he played with Vargas in the winter league and with an All-Star club in Maricaiho, and in Mexico he also played with Culiacan in the Mexican Pacific Coust League.
As a youngster, Cash lived in the Meadows, an area near the Philadelphia airport. In high school he was the only black player on the school team and quit the squad, but played semi-pro baseball in the city for four years with the Camden Giants, Black Meteors, and Philadelphia Daisies. He was fortunate to have sound baseball men managing those teams, including Otto Briggs with the Camden team and Webster McDonald with the Daisies. When McDonald thought Cash was ready to make the step up to the black big leagues, he introduced him to manager Goose Curry, who signed him for the Philadelphia Stars.
After leaving the baseball diamond, Cash returned to Philadelphia to practice the trade he had learned before baseball, working as a machinist at Westinghouse Electrical & Manufacturing Company until his retirement.
Baseball Career Highlights:
"I played against some of the greatest ball players who ever lived Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, "Cool Papa" Bell, Monte Irvin, etc." Cash went north and south of the border for the opportunity to play ball. He played in Caracas, Venezuela, with the Mexican Pacific League, Dominican League and in Brandon, Manitoba, with Willie Wells as his manager.
Near the end of his baseball career, he played in Bismarck, North Dakota, with Negro Leagues greats Ray Dandridge and Art Pennington and hit .369 for the 1955 season. Cash put it all in perspective, "We won the pennant. That was a good team."
When Cash retired from baseball in 1957, he became an ordained deacon. "I've tried to emulate that image all my life," he said. In addition, he worked as a machinist at Westinghouse Electric Company in Lester, Pennsylvania. Cash said, "It's wonderful that we're trying to let our younger generation know about the history of the Negro Baseball Leagues."
Awards, Honors, Titles, Championships,
• Several citations from Governors, Mayors, Councilmen and the
U.S. House of Representatives
• Douglas Hall of Fame
• Cheyney University Hall of Fame
• Delaware County Baseball Hall of Fame
NLBM Legacy 2000 Players' Reunion Alumni Book, Kansas City Missouri: Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Inc., 2000.
James A. Riley, The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues, New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., 1994.